POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - After 35 years of service to the state of Missouri, Highway Patrol Captain George Ridens is calling it quits.
If anything is telling about Captain Ridens' tenure - it's that 160 people took time Thursday to honor him.
Captain Ridens first served Missouri as a patrolman in 1981.
Elected officials and members of law enforcement showed up to wish him a fond farewell from his duties.
The celebration took place in Poplar Bluff, and yes, there was cake and ice cream.
Ridens is the commander of Troop-E.
The ceremony went on for quite a while, and several speakers talked about Ridens' dedication to law enforcement and the people of Missouri.
Ridens talked to KFVS about what it's like for this part of his life to come to an end.
"It's just like anything else that you do. it becomes a part of you, and it's going to be difficult. but I'll get through it. and i look forward to the retirement," he says.
While everyone had kind words to share, what was echoed most by his peers was Ridens' role as a mentor and how he has helped shape many of the troopers under his stewardship.
Lieutenant Jeffery Vitale will replace Ridens as the commander of the troop.
Starting Friday, he'll be a captain.