In his sister’s eyes, Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie died the way he lived, striving to make the world a better place.
Ellen Dinwiddie Smith stood behind a lectern and looked into a crowd of more than a thousand people who congregated Saturday in the Killeen Civic and Conference Center to honor her youngest brother, Detective Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie, who died last week in the line of duty.
Smith began her eulogy reading a Bible verse — John 15:13.
“Greater love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for his friends,” she read as Dinwiddie’s wife, Holly, and two children, Chloe and Colin, sat in the audience along with his parents and siblings.
“Chuck first and foremost lived his life in service to others,” Smith said. “It was about serving others. ... He showed time and time again that he cared deeply about the person. He recognized and respected the inherent value in each and every person with whom he came in contact.”
Dinwiddie, 47, was an 18-year veteran of the Killeen Police Department. He was fatally wounded while he and other members of the SWAT team served a narcotics search warrant May 9. He died May 11.
“The world is a better place because of my brother,” Smith said.
Hundreds of police officers from Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, Austin, Lubbock, Houston and several towns in between attended the service to honor their fellow brother in blue.
“We don’t get to pick how long we live,” said the Rev. Randall Wallace, who officiated the service. “To this dear brother who has fallen, our Lord will say ‘Well done, brother.’ Charles David Dinwiddie lived well among us.”
Killeen Police Chief Dennis Baldwin said Dinwiddie was a dedicated servant who emitted selflessness, compassion and professionalism.
“The love and admiration for Charles from the people in this room cannot be accurately expressed in words or shown in deeds,” Baldwin told Dinwiddie’s family. “Only our hearts and minds will know the true measure of how he touched our lives.
“The police department relied on him throughout his career to conduct some of the most difficult, complex investigations that we had,” he said. “We always knew he would conduct a thorough, professional investigation.”
Not only will the department miss the meticulousness he brought to an investigation, but also his compassion for people and his dedication to the community.
“As a police officer, Chuck spent his time investing in the well-being of others,” Baldwin said. “It didn’t matter if you were a co-worker, victim, suspect or citizen. He remained respectful of who you were and showed he cared for you as a person. He would go the extra mile to ensure that whatever he was involved in was done properly and to the best of his ability. His patience, kindness and always putting other people’s concerns above his own is what helped to define him.”
Baldwin looked toward Dinwiddie’s family and told them to take comfort in knowing that he was loved and respected by all who knew him.
“He represented the law enforcement profession with honor, integrity, compassion, courage and loyalty,” he said. “This was how Chuck chose to spend his time on this earth. ... He changed our lives for the better.”
Band of brothers
Dinwiddie’s comrades on the SWAT team gathered around his casket, as retired KPD Sgt. Patrick Turck, Dinwiddie’s SWAT entry team leader, read “Band of Brothers.” The reading of the section from William Shakespeare’s “Henry V” is a SWAT team tradition when a member of the squad retires or honorably leaves the team.
“... for this day until the end of the world, we shall be remembered,” they read together. “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for whoever has shed his blood with me shall be my brother. ...”
One by one, SWAT officers placed their team pin on a plaque and gave their comrade one final salute.
To bring the service to an end at the Killeen City Cemetery, the Honor Guard fired a 21-gun salute followed by the playing of taps and “Amazing Grace.”
As the classic hymn drew to a close, a lone bagpiper exited formation to signify Dinwiddie’s soul moving on.