EL PASO TX (KCBD) - Hundreds of people made the trip to El Paso, Texas to honor the life of Texas Tech Police Officer Floyd East, Jr.
Hundreds of others watched the public memorial service at the Abraham Chavez Theatre live on KCBD.com, leaving well wishes and prayers for Officer East's family and friends.
"Officer East dedicated his life to keeping our campuses safe. He is a hero in every sense of the word," said Frederick Francis, Chairman of the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents.
While there were tears of sadness, there were also smiles as a family member shared favorite memories of Officer East.
"In preparing for this memorial, we wanted to give you a picture of who Floyd was, and we didn't know just quite how to do that in such a short time," said family member, Angie Escarciga. "So, we will offer you a mental montage."
"We will miss you holding Carmen's hand just because. We will miss you calling her pudding," Escarciga said.
"We will miss seeing you in your favorite fishy beach shorts, Luche Libre t-shirt and flip flops, and then your dressed up look, your fishy shorts, Luche Libre t-shirt and deck shoes," Escarciga.
Escarciga also read Officer East's favorite quote by Hunter S. Thompson, "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'Wow! What a Ride!'"
Officer East was a husband, father and law enforcement officer who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
"Words are never quite adequate in a moment like this. How do you fully honor? How do we sufficiently thank a man who put himself in harm's way to protect us?" asked Dr. Lawrence Schovanec, President of Texas Tech University.
While words may never be enough, actions like the candlelight vigil at Texas Tech's Memorial Circle, have made a lasting impact.
"This was an event that was organized not by the administration, not by the president, but the students themselves," said Robert Duncan, Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. "They came one by one."
"There were over 1,000 students in the circle and in the Red Raider spirit, one person raised his hand, a thousand raised their hands, and in the Red Raider spirit, the alma mater was sung. I couldn't sing it because it was such a choking moment," Duncan said.
On Oct. 12, Congressman Jodey Arrington shared a statement on the House floor to honor Officer East.
Richard Lange, President of TTUHSC of El Paso, read that statement.
In part, he read, "Officer East has been described as someone you could rely on, and someone who was always there to help or just listen. No doubt, he represented the very best of the values of Texas Tech. His loss reminds us of policemen and women put their lives at risk every day. He left behind a loving wife, Carmen, who generously allowed him to dedicate his life to keeping us safe. To his children, Ana and Monica, your dad is a hero and our prayers are with you."
"Raider community in Lubbock and El Paso, we love you. You have restored our faith in the goodness in humanity by your outpouring of love and support," Escarciga said.
The service closed with the release of 1,000 blue and black balloons.