HOUSTON, Texas - Houston Police Sergeant Steve Perez, who died after driving into floodwaters as he attempted to get to work during Hurricane Harvey, was laid to rest Wednesday morning at Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.
In attendance at Wednesday's service were members of the Detroit Police Department. They drove 48 hours to attend the funeral and brought a truckload of supplies for emergency responders in Houston and Rockport.
Sgt. Perez's son, Maverick, spoke at his father's funeral. He said his father was the greatest protector, defender and rescuer. He also talked about how he had no misgivings about sharing his father with his HPD family.
Sgt. Perez funeral
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo also spoke during the funeral mass:
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo speaks at Perez funeral
Outside, hundreds of police officers gathered for the presentation of the flag to the Perez family. From there, a procession escorted Sgt. Perez's casket to the burial site at the Houston National Cemetery.
A handful of people stood at the entrance to the cemetery, among them fellow veteran Alex Mitchell of Magnolia.
"It touched me because the man was trying to get out and serve," Mitchell said. "He had a calling and it was in his heart."
Houston officers and visiting officers from around the country gathered after the funeral at the Houston Police Officers Union headquarters.
"It's always important for us to have moments following a line of duty death for us to reflect and relax, but this time it's on top of the flood," said Sgt. Tom Hayes. "It has a little bit of extra meaning to it."
Houston Police Officer's Union collaborated with restaurants around the community to keep thousands of officers well-fed during Harvey. On Wednesday, they also provided nourishment for the soul. They hope to keep it going, with Sgt. Perez's sacrifice as an example of why it's so important.
"We want to continue it, not only today," said organizer Gavin Torabi. "We want to bond around the people who bond around us when we need them when we have an emergency."
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