Earlier this year, Governer Jeff Colyer signed Senate Bill 375 into law, which designates Kansas highways as memorial highways for fallen state troopers.
Tuesday, the four daughters of Ferdinand “Bud” Pribbenow gathered at their father’s grave site in east Wichita for the dedication ceremony.
Pribbenow was a state trooper and Navy veteran with four daughters. His oldest, Toyia Bulla, said his favorite job as a trooper was helping families on the side of the road troubleshoot their car problems.
“He took great pride on getting them back on the road where they needed to go,” Bulla said.
In 1981, Pribbenow stopped a car traveling nearly double the speed limit on the Turnpike north of the El Dorado interchange. As Pribbenow approached the vehicle, the driver came out of the car shooting and killing Pribbenow.
It’s a shock and a pain that Bulla remembers all too well.
“That hole in your heart never completely goes away but you can help fill it in with good things,” Bulla said.
Since then, Bulla has poured herself into Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), a national peer-support group for families and co-workers of slain officers. She enjoys keeping her father’s memory alive through photos, stories with her sisters, and now, Trooper Pribbenow’s own stretch of K-96 between I-235 and Mount Hope which bears his name, which Bulla and her sisters will drive frequently.
A stretch of US-81 from US-166 to the Sedgwick County line was dedicated today to Trooper James D. Thornton, of Winfield.
Three more dedications are scheduled for October.
For a complete list of fallen Kansas troopers and their highways, visit: https://www.kansashighwaypatrol.org/35/End-of-Watch.