Posted on April 11, 2012 at 10:39 AM
Wednesday, Apr 11 at 2:01 PM
TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas -- A memorial service honoring fallen Austin Police Officer Jaime Padron begins at 11:15 a.m. at the Shoreline Church in North Travis County.
It's been an emotional morning. Friends, family, colleagues and complete strangers are gathering to show their thanks for Sr. Officer Padron's service and sacrifice.
Officers escorted Padron's body from the Cook-Walden Funeral Home on North Lamar, where his family hosted visitation Tuesday night, to the church around 8:30 a.m.
Several who came to attend the memorial service stood to the side in silence, watching as a group of half a dozen fellow officers carried Padron’s casket inside the church.
Flags flew at half-staff in his memory while Police Chief Art Acevedo looked on.
Thousands are expected to attend Padron’s memorial service. The community support has been coming in from the day he died in the line of duty. One man called into a telephone fundraiser drive to donate what little he had.
"He said he didn't have a job and he'd like to give $5 or $10 but he didn't have a lot of money. We said we'd take anything. He next mentioned he was arrested by Officer Padron and he said, 'He was a great guy and he treated me like a human being,'” explained Commander Jason Dusterhoft of the APD Highway Command. “I don't know what else says something about an officer like that if you make that much of an impact on somebody you arrested, they remember you and they feel that good about you. I think that speaks volumes to who he was."
Officer Padron leaves behind a large family, including two young daughters just six and 10 years old. They all arrived together Wednesday morning and walked silently into the church.
After the memorial service, everyone inside will come out to the church lawn where the department will present official police honors. Chief Acevedo will give Padron's youngest daughter an American flag.
Following the service a procession will lead out from the church up Burnet Road to the 45 toll and on to Interstate 35 where it will continue through the heart of Austin to Ben White Boulevard. The procession will move down Highway 71 to San Angelo, where Padron’s family has scheduled a formal funeral and where he will be laid to rest.