By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Killeen Daily Herald
Few were surprised Pat Sirois stopped. That was just the kind of police officer he was. More than that, it was just the kind of man he was.
Many go into law enforcement because they love their communities, said Pastor Duke Johnson, of Fort Hood's Directorate of Emergency Services. Pat considered the world his community and helped anybody who needed it.
"So Pat stopped," Johnson said.
More than 850 police officers, soldiers and community members filled the Killeen Civic and Conference Center Wednesday to honor him and bid him farewell.
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.
He 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.
Johnson read aloud a post left on a funeral home website for Sirois' family.
"I am sorry for your loss," read the Nov. 29 message. "It seems Patrick was a fine and brave man. To save the life of a stranger the way you did was the act of a true hero. Your act took your life but you saved my son, James Snowden. For that you will always be a real hero to my family and myself. Go in peace and thank you."
Pat's son, Patrick Sirois Jr., spoke about his father Wednesday, saying he was a humble man. Pat was a great speaker, but because of his humble nature, a better listener. He was a great leader, but a better team member, his son said.
It wasn't rare to see Pat's eyes well up with tears when discussing something about which he was passionate, Patrick Jr. said, adding that was the greatest gift he ever received from his father.
Pat was a man of emotion and passion, set free by the trappings of insecurity, Patrick Jr. said.
All who spoke about Pat Wednesday talked about his sense of humor and willingness to laugh harder than anyone else when the jokes were at his - and especially his short stature's - expense.
It was his height that kept him from joining the Hartford, Conn., police force as a young man. Instead, he 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.
"So I was drawn to him like everyone else," he added.
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 didn't become a police officer to drive a car fast, look good in uniform or wear a badge, Patrick Jr. said. He did it because he had a genuine desire to help those around him.
The world needs more men like him, Patrick Jr. said of his father.
For more on this story, read next week's Fort Hood Herald.