Bismarck — "It's difficult. We are moving on, but we will never forget," said Grand Forks police Corporal Pat Torok.
He said there were a lot of emotions for him Thursday, May 13, during the fallen officers' memorial service at the statehouse, especially talking with Officer Cody Holte's widow after the ceremony.
"We miss him. His picture is in our squad room, so every time you see his picture, you miss him," Torok said.
He was Holte's zone partner for two years. Torok and Holte rushed into a gunfight at a Grand Forks apartment to help two sheriff's deputies who were allegedly ambushed while serving an eviction notice.
When the shootout was over, Holte and one of the deputies had been shot. Torok came out alive.
Grand Forks Herald photographer Eric Hylden took a powerful picture of Torok holding a rosary outside the apartment building moments after the shootout ended.
"Just the power of faith and of what the lord can do for you in times of incredible stress, in times of incredible emotion and pain. He can help bring you through," Torok said, explaining why he held the rosary.
When asked what was going through his head when he held the rosary, he said he was thinking "that Cody would be OK."
Before Holte joined the Grand Forks Police Department, Torok met him at the police academy. He was Holte's physical fitness instructor for 18 weeks. Torok remembered thinking he'd be a good guy to join the force.
"Very selfless; when one of the other academy guys would be slowing down — Cody was one of the superior athletes in the academy — if he was done with his run, he would go back out onto the course and run with that other cadet to make sure they got through in the time that they needed," Torok said.
He said it's still a day-by-day process emotionally, as he will forever remember badge 639.
"(We'll) continue to serve Grand Forks in the way we know how. It's the best way to honor Cody. That's what he would want," Torok said.