By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Fort Hood Herald
Pat Sirois' friend encouraged anyone who had a story about Pat to share it.
The shared memories are what make Pat immortal, said Capt. Jonathan Caylor, of Fort Hood's Directorate of Emergency Services.
Those who spoke Dec. 1 did just that. They told tales of a child who guarded his Matchbox cars with a BB gun and stayed up late to scan his ham radio. He grew into a young man who was rejected by the police force because he was too short, then went from the soldier to whom everyone was drawn and fell off a cavalry horse to the cop who laughed harder than anyone else when a child seat appeared in his patrol car.
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Roger Sirois, a Fort Hood civilian police officer and reserve officer for the Nolanville Police Department, died Nov. 23 while assisting a motorist near Eufala, Okla., on U.S. Highway 69.
More than 850 police officers, soldiers and community members filled the Killeen Civic and Conference Center Dec. 1 to honor him and bid him farewell. A procession of Patriot Guard riders and police vehicles from more than 15 area departments accompanied him to his final resting spot at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery south of Killeen.
Pat was traveling to Wagoner, Okla., for Thanksgiving when he came upon an accident, according to information from the Officer Down Memorial Page. He put on his reflective vest, badge and weapon before helping 28-year-old James Snowden Jr., one of the drivers at the scene, according to a report from NewsOK.com. As they were standing by Snowden's pickup, Pat saw another car quickly approaching and pushed Snowden out of the way before the car hit the pickup and pinned Pat against the guardrail.
Pat died at a Eufala hospital, according to the NewsOK.com report. He was 50 years old.
His remains were escorted back to Central Texas by state troopers from Texas and Oklahoma. The U.S. Honor Flag, a flag that flew over the World Trade Center site after Sept. 11, 2001, arrived Nov. 30 in Killeen, and was displayed during Pat's funeral service.
When Pat couldn't join the police force, he put that dream on hold and made a career of the Army, serving from 1979 to 2002.
Pat and Command Sgt. Maj. Donald Felt, Fort Hood's garrison senior noncommissioned officer, first met 11 years ago when attending the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy together. Pat was charismatic and full of life, Felt said.
The friends, both former members of the 1st Cavalry Division, reconnected more than two years ago when Felt took his current job.
Pat was serving as a civilian police officer at Fort Hood and Felt asked why he retired from the Army.
Pat told Felt he always wanted to be a police officer and if he didn't do it then, he'd be too old. The Army was really Pat's second career, and he retired to fulfill his life's ambition, Felt said.
"Pat never gave up that childhood dream," said Chief David Ross, of Fort Hood's Directorate of Emergency Services.
Pat often said he would do his job for free if he had to, Ross went on to say.
Pat's friends spoke of his love of law enforcement.
"He truly, truly enjoyed serving the people of the community," said Officer Charlie Rodriguez, of the Nolanville Police Department.
Pat was constantly on the move and the only time he was still was when he was strapped in his patrol car. His service to the people and the department are irreplaceable, Rodriguez said, and he consistently gave 110 percent.
Assistant Chief Tracy Ramthum, of the Directorate of Emergency Services, recalled Pat's ability to make people feel better.
Ramthum said he was known to have a temper and was standing outside the station one day, ragging on people. Pat said to him, "Chief, you need a hug," and wrapped his arms around him.
"And he wouldn't let me go," Ramthum said last week.
Any bit of negative feelings Ramthum had disappeared, and every time Pat would see him, he would offer a handshake or a hug.
That was a required greeting for any friend Pat crossed paths with. No one got away with just a wave, said Pastor Duke Johnson, of the Directorate of Emergency Services, and people always felt better after talking to him.
"We really lost something when we lost Pat," Johnson said to those gathered to honor him.
"Even now, Pat is bringing us together. Even now he is bringing us closer."