Governor McAuliffe: Lt. Cullen was the 'best of the best of the - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Governor McAuliffe: Lt. Cullen was the 'best of the best of the Virginia State Police'

Lt. H. Jay Cullen (Source: VA State Police) Lt. H. Jay Cullen (Source: VA State Police)
Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates (Source: VA State Police) Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates (Source: VA State Police)
CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -

Virginia's governor, state police, and loved ones gathered to say goodbye to Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen on Saturday.

Governor Terry McAuliffe reminisced about the times where he and the First Lady invited state police officers and their families over to the governor's mansion for the holidays. Governor McAuliffe said the members of the Virginia State Police are apart of their family.

"Today, we lost a member of our family. Dorothy and I are heartbroken. It will not be the same when I don't see Jay in the front right seat with 'Cullen' written on the back of his helmet. However, when I do get in that helicopter, I will think of Jay, and I'll think what a silent giant he was. He was the best of the best of the Virginia State Police, and I know Jay would want me that day to go out and do a good deed for someone else," the governor said.

Cullen, 48, graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in May 1994 as a member of the 90th Basic Session.

He first joined the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit in 1999.

"Jay would not have been anywhere else last Saturday than where he was for a variety of reasons, but mostly because for his love of flying and his dedication to public safety and public service to be there and support so many of you and I that were there, boots on the ground," said Colonel Steven Flaherty with the Virginia State Police. "He believed in his mission to protect and serve."

Cullen is survived by his wife and two sons. He was from Midlothian.

"He was the most serious, safety conscious pilot I've ever had. He loved his family. When we would talk, he talked about his boys," said Governor Terry McAuliffe.

Cullen's friend from college, Will Payne, talked about his memories with Jay and keeping up with him after college. 

"I always had the feeling he's happy. He's a happy man," said Payne. "I'll miss my friend Jay, and I know someday when all of the sadness passes and the heartache dulls, I'll think of him and smile and laugh."

The funeral for Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, who also died in the crash was held Friday. Click here for full coverage of his funeral. 

Bates, of Quinton, would have turned 41 years old Sunday. He graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in August 2004 as a member of the 107th Basic Session.

He had just transferred to the Aviation Unit as a Trooper-Pilot in July. Bates is survived by his wife and twin 12-year-old son and daughter.

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