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Someone who genuinely cared. That's how a friend and former employer described officer Rob Bingaman.
Officer Bingaman died yesterday when his patrol car plunged off the Jeff Bowen bridge in Asheville. Today, people who knew him are remembering why the police uniform was an obvious fit.
Former employer Patricia York says, "I can't say enough good things about him.." York, owner of Moore's small engine repair in west Asheville, hired Robert Bingaman as a mechanic when he landed in Asheville in his early 20's right out of the marines. She says, "he always wanted to take his military training and do something a little higher up and everything. he had served in the military. he liked it so he thought the police force would be a good thing to do and it turned out to be good for bob."
Today, fellow officers honored him with a tribute outside the station doors, the flag lowered to half staff. Food was delivered throughout the day to help friends cope with their grief.
"I thought the world of Bob. To my knowledge, Bob was just a great person all the way around and it's really a tragedy this had to happen."
York says Bingaman worked at the Haywood road shop for 10 years before joining the police department. "Bob really liked taking care of people." And although he left 6 years ago.. he never forgot his roots.. where his former boss knows he'll be deeply missed. "He would still come to see me and visit me. ya know. he didn't just quit and go away and never come back. he always, I just em, I'd really like to know how it all happened."
Funeral arrangements for officer Bingaman have not been released. A memorial fund however, has been established in officer Bingaman's honor. Donations can be made to Genevieve Bingaman, care of Robert Bingaman memorial fund.. at any Home Trust bank branch.. or mailed to Home Trust bank, 10 Woodfin Street , Asheville 28801.
By Frank Fraboni