NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - It was standing room only here at the Newport News Police headquarters for one law enforcement veteran well known around Hampton Roads: Lou Thurston.
"There's not anybody who doesn't know Lou," said friend Larry Hill. "Lou's always been there whether its supporting police officers, firefighters, other folks who've been killed in the line of duty. Lou's been there to help out."
Lou is a Hampton Roads native, having grown up in Poquoson, served in the Army and then worked in law enforcement for 47 years as a public information officer for the Virginia Beach and then Newport News Police Departments.
He even served as a police analyst here at News 3 for a short stint.
"He has the personality - great for a public information officer - that when you talk to him you feel comfortable, and you know whatever comes out of his mouth, it's the truth," said one person.
The room was full of many current and former police officers from all over Hampton Roads, all of whom Lou taught to be media relations experts.
News 3 was also invited to his retirement party, and we had a surprise of our own for him - a People Taking Action award and a $300 gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.
This tough veteran who is historically composed got a little choked up when News 3's Beverly Kidd asked him about leaving law enforcement.
"You appreciate the comments. It hit close to home," he said. "You have the blue family, and within the blue family, you have this PIO family. I could tell you story after story after story - good times, bad times."
Beverly asked Lou what he plans to do next.
"I know what I'm gonna do for 2 months... nothing!" he said.