The Sad Trip To Houston

So the trip to Houston. 

We left on Thursday afternoon – Ahna had to take the afternoon off, as well as the next day; I was placed on family leave – and arrived into Houston a few hours later. We were met in the jetway as we got off of the plane by three Houston Police Officers (HPD) who immediately embraced us and took us into their family. They had two carts waiting for us at the gate, which proved to be a really nice way to get to baggage claim, but made a lot of people wonder what we did on the plane to get three police officers and a ride….

The HPD had assigned us an officer for the night as well as a marked car, and he took us from the airport to the funeral home so we could catch the last part of the viewing. When we arrived, we found that there were still a surprising amount of family around, including TJ (Tim’s son) and most of Tim’s brothers and sisters. 

The next morning was the funeral services, and the family was taken to Tim and Stephanie’s house before the motorcade to the church. We arrived at the church about a hour before the services began so several presentations could be made to the family (from the police chief, from the city, from the academy class, from the police union, etc). 

The services were perfect. The preaching, the stories, and the tribute was something that was deserved. The church was filled with about 3,000 police officers from all over the state. Outside, the Patriot Guard lined the entry ways with American flags. The HPD and the Navy Honor Guards did an amazing job. 

There was no procession because Tim was going to be cremated. Instead, all of the traditional burial site rituals were performed outside of the church: folding and presentation of the American flag, the gun salute, the officers standing at attention, the bagpipes, the trumpeter playing taps, the mounted police salute (an empty boot turned backwards in the saddle), and the aviation unit salute (helicopters flying over in a missing-man formation). The Honor Guard even let TJ dismiss all of the uniformed officers. 

Following the services, there was a reception hosted by the HPD Officer’s Union; and then it was back to Stephanie’s house for a while. It was a long day. It was a perfect day. It was a day that we hope to never experience again. 

We returned home on Saturday night, after spending the day at Stephanie’s house. Our ride to the airport was provided by the Sergeant of the Bomb Squad: the unit that Tim was transferring to. It’s hard to summarize the emotions of the trip, and it is equally as hard to summarize the love that was shown by the HPD. They were there 24-7 for any need whatsoever. They provided anything requested at a moment’s notice….most importantly, they were simply there. 

I have attached some pictures from the Houston Chronicle. We didn’t take any pictures over the trip, but there was a family picture taken….and as soon as I get that it will be posted. 

It was mentioned in a previous post: go and thank your local police officers for the dedication and commitment that they have given to the community. I have long believed that a police officer or firefighter becomes a hero the moment that they take the oath to serve and protect their communities – whatever the cost. Tim became a hero to Houston and to our family – for a second time, after serving in the military – 11 years ago…not two weeks ago. We just had the opportunity to say thanks.

Here is a story about the services from the Chronicle.

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