The service, which lasted a little over an hour, was at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in east Cobb and gave fellow officers, family members and friends an opportunity to say their goodbyes to a man whom many described as loving.
Officers Waymondo Brown and Alex Frazier with Clayton Police said it was an honor to serve alongside the young officer.
“You put yourself between me and danger,” Brown said while tearing up. “My entire family thanks you for your sacrifice.”
Ponder wrote his own rendition of the Boyz II Men song “It’s so hard to say goodbye” to describe how he will miss Callahan.
“The good times have outweighed the bad, although with Sean there weren’t any bad times,” he said.
Callahan’s friends from middle and high school, who called themselves the “Rat Pack,” talked about trips they all took together, their friend being a good dancer and some things that shouldn’t be mentioned in front of police officers, many jokingly said.
Kermit Tyler spoke of the respect he had for his best friend being an officer, although he teased him about it.
“My best friend died a hero, and I know he’s just protecting us from up there now, just looking down and is saying, ‘Kermit, quit crying right now and put a smile on that face.’ I love ya’ll and everything you do,” he said.
Another dear friend of Callahan’s, Justin Baker, said he’s found a whole new respect for the men and women serving in law enforcement.
“He was so proud of being an officer, and we were so proud to call him one,” Baker said. “Please carry on the celebration of his life by telling the stories that you shared with him and share those stories with others. Carry on the spirit and know that he was a loving officer, a friend, a brother and a son.”
Melody Benjamin, who was listed in the program as Callahan’s “devoted friend,” said the love of her life was taken away from her Tuesday .
“He was my best friend, protector, always there for me,” she said. “He was the most honorable man I ever knew.”
His stepfather, John Rogers, thanked the Clayton County department for their love and support during their time of grief.
“I will be forever grateful for the love you’ve given to me and my family,” he said. “I was blessed to enjoy fatherhood through him.”
His older sister, Candice Shirley, spoke about how brave and strong her brother was for joining the police department.
“He has always been my hero, even before he became a hero to everyone else,” she said. “Sean really did want to make the world a better place, even if it was one street at a time. Though he’ll never ride the streets of Clayton County again, he will forever wear the uniform he dreamed of having almost all his adult life.”
Near the closing of the service, Clayton County Commission Chair Eldrin Bell read a proclamation making Dec. 21, 2012, the Sean Lewis Callahan Day of Honor, and a representative from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety read a letter on behalf of Gov. Nathan Deal.