Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Police Officer Jaime Padron, a Marine for all time

Jaime Padron was born July 5, 1971 and passed away on April 6, 2012 in Austin, Texas.

Jaime graduated from Christoval High School in 1989 where he loved to play football.  He joined the United States Marine Corps that summer.  While serving on active duty he received numerous recognitions, commendations and medals for his service.  He served in Desert Storm and was proud to be a Marine.  He completed his service in the Marines in 1997.

Jaime served the City of San Angelo, Texas for over 13 years as a patrol officer and also was a member of the gang unit and a narcotics investigator.

Jaime became a police officer for the City of Austin in 2008 where he served until his death.  His honors from the Austin Police include Master Police Officer and Purple Heart with Valor, which he received for his actions at the time of his death.

In the early morning of April 6, 2012, Jaime was dispatched to a Walmart Supercenter Store in North Austin.  There he made contact with, and attempted to apprehend, a shoplifter.  During that effort, the subject pulled a handgun, and shot Jaime through the neck.  Officer Jaime Padron, a Marine for life, bled to death  on the floor of the Walmart, as Walmart employees subdued the subject and attempted to save Jaime's  life.

Jaime Padron was a compassionate and caring man, who loved spending quality time with his family and his every devotion in life was for his daughters.

Jaime had a passion for Harley Davidson motorcycles and loved riding often and collecting memorabilia.  He also enjoyed playing golf and was an avid runner.

A memorial service was held on April 11 at the Shoreline Church, where the flags flew at half staff.  In attendance were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of police officers from all over Texas and hundreds more of family, friends and well wishers who came to honor Jaime Padron.

Also present were the Patriot Guard Riders who formed a line of American flags at the entrance to the church as the mourners arrived.

The service commenced with the playing of Amazing Grace.  The service included a Tribute by Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo which was moving, and humorous, and included a detailed description of how he first met Jaime.  Chief Acevedo called up to the stage the two Walmart employees who had subdued the subject, and they received a standing ovation.  The Chief observed that there are good people who are willing to risk their lives to help the police, rather than to constantly complain.

At the conclusion of the service, the flag draped casket was carried from the church outside to a simulated grave site, complete with a traditional blue canvas shelter.  There the casket was placed upon a bier and police honors were rendered,

The Honors afforded by the dozens of Honor Guards from all over the state, included the Austin Pipe and Drum Corps playing Amazing Grace.  Taps was played, and the seven rifle detail fired three volleys of fire.

The American flag that draped the casket was carefully folded into a tight triangle by the Police Honor Guard and passed to Chief Acevedo who presented it to one of Jaime's daughters.  A second folded flag was presented to his other daughter.  Chief Acevedo presented the Purple Heart with Valor to Jaime's dearly beloved mother.

The service ended with the traditional retirement of the badge of a fallen officer.   Jaime's badges from San Angelo Police Department and Austin Police Department were retired.

The casket was carried from the shelter and placed into a waiting black hearse.  That hearse was then escorted by hundreds of Police Officers on motorcycles as it made it's way from the church in North Austin south through central Austin and then west to the outskirts of the city.  Along the way, hundreds of people lined the highway to honor a fallen officer of their city.

The hearse drove, with a smaller escort, to San Angelo, Texas, where it arrived at a funeral home after dark.  As the hearse passed through the towns in west Texas, citizens stood along the roadway.

On April 13, a Funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Joseph Catholic Church in San Angelo.  Interment followed at Lawnhaven Memoral Park in San Angelo.  At the cemetery, the American flag that draped the casket was carefully folded by two United States Marines into the traditional triangle, and was presented to Jaime's father, Juan, by an Officer of Marines, on behalf of the President of the United States, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and a grateful nation as a symbol of our appreciation for Jaime's service to Country and Corps.

A Police Bugler played Taps, and seven rifles fired three volleys of fire.

Master Police Officer Jaime Padron, a Marine for life, was then laid to rest in the city in which he began his heroic and storied police career.

Left to cherish his memory are his father, and his mother, Zoila, his daughters, Ari and Livi, their mother, Amy, two brothers and a sister, and thousands of others who were inspired by his life.

Jaime, we will miss you for this lifetime but will be elated to see you again in God's Kingdom.
Semper Fi
With thanks to the published obituary for biographical information and to Quita Culpepper KVUE-TV, KXAN-TV, Ralph Barrera American-Statesman and Cynthia Esparaza Standard-Times for additional photographs.

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