Hometown Hero: Dave Brown, Medical Examiner's Investigator

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- An investigator with the Greene County Medical Examiner's Office considers it his duty to care for the dead.

"There's an old saying in this business so to speak: 'Everyday we have the opportunity to meet people in their worst day of their life," says Dave Brown, chief investigator for the Greene County Medical Examiner.

As Brown identifies the deceased and determines causes of death, and while he's investigated thousands of deaths for the last several decades, some hit closer to home.

"You look at a happy family and everyone is having a great time at a ball game, you're wanting to scream out 'no'," says Brown.

As a lifetime Springfield resident, Brown's job has brought him to many of the doorsteps he's been to before.

"I have more exposure to people I know, or families I know that's their brother or sister," Brown says. ""It can be anything from a hospital death, to a hospice death to a motor vehicle collision, plane crash.""

"He shares compassion and empathy with them with a listening ear," says Dave Brown's wife Mary.

Mary says her husband often brings his work home, talking with families over the phone at length in their time of crisis.

"There aren't many people like this in the world that can handle and daily see tough situations and still come away without being hardened," says Mary Brown.

For Brown, dealing with death is just what he does.

"I hope everyone lives to be 96, in their 90s. But at the same time, I know when the sun rises, that we're going to have more tragedies," Dave Brown says.

While he remains calm on the surface, Brown's heart is always ready to help the next family with their loss of a loved one.

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