By Philip Jankowski
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS - Fallen Harker Heights police officer Andrew Rameas had wanted to be an officer since he was 12 years old.
Described as a competent, smart and skilled police officer, Rameas had to work very hard to get to where he was.
According to his father, Peter Rameas, the 33-year-old had to work part-time stints at several departments before he found his first full-time police officer position working for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
However, that position was little more than a glorified security officer. It wasn't the kind of police work that would satisfy Rameas.
"He wanted more action," his father said.
So Rameas transferred within the department to Fort Hood, where he worked for the Fort Hood Directorate of Emergency Services (Fort Hood Police).
In August 2009, Rameas finally got what he wanted. That was when he was sworn in as a Harker Heights police officer.
But his tenure with the department was suddenly cut short Monday. Rameas died while off duty escorting a funeral procession in Killeen.
Rameas was at the rear of the procession when a SUV turned in front of his motorcycle, which collided with the SUV. He died a short time later.
Peter Rameas said he saw his son in action escorting a funeral procession when he visited in October.
"We waved, and he was very professional; he never smiled and didn't wave back," he said.
So it was a shock to hear his son had passed away in such a fashion.
The family has been somewhat overwhelmed by the response from fellow police officers, who he said act as a "brotherhood."
Harker Heights Police Department Chief Mike Gentry commented on how officers become closely bonded Wednesday.
"In this profession, we have a closeness that is hard to explain and difficult to understand," Gentry said.
Scores of officers from HHPD and a multitude of law enforcement agencies escorted Rameas to his hometown in Pennsylvania Wednesday, where he will be laid to rest.
Officers escorted Rameas in what could be called a funeral procession from Harker Heights to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Wednesday, where he was flown to Pennsylvania. That procession continued from Pittsburgh to Waynesburg, Pa., where he will be buried Friday.
Rameas' partner at HHPD flew with the body to Pennsylvania and will be alongside Rameas until funeral services conclude Friday. Several other HHPD officers also will attend the service, Gentry said.
"He was a good kid. He loved what he did," Peter Rameas said.
Rameas' family has scheduled a viewing today at the First Baptist Church in Waynesburg from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. The funeral is Friday at the same location beginning at 11 a.m. followed by interment in Greene County Memorial Park, Morgan Township.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Western PA Search and Rescue Development, P.O. Box 17182, Pittsburgh, PA 15235. Condolences may be offered at www.behmfuneralhomes.net.
Contact Philip Jankowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.