SOMERVILLE, Texas – Friday was a day about remembering Adam Sowders and his 10-year law enforcement career.
Directly after a memorial service at Central Baptist Church in College Station, a colorful procession guided the body of the fallen Burleson County Sheriff's deputy more than 30 miles to where he would be laid to rest.
“Sometimes the good Lord just calls us when it's our time,” said Michael Jennings of the Austin Police Department Honor Guard.
“As careful as you are, sometimes bad things happen to us," he added, "and when you come to things like this, it reiterates the dangers law enforcement face,” said Jennings.
Not only was the graveside service at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Sowders' hometown of Somerville filled with friends and family, it was filled with many who Sowders never met.
"We've been as far north as Texarkana and as far south as San Antonio and as far east as Houston, so we will literally go anywhere in the state to honor our fallen hero,” said Austin Police Department Honor Guard member David Crowder.
Sowders, who was also more affectionately known as "Big A" was a son, a brother, a best friend and a sergeant investigator. His courage and compassionate heart will never be forgotten.
“We will miss you my friend, and we will carry you with us every day with pride, as you did so well,” Stroud said.
Earlier, more than a thousand people gathered for a memorial service where Sowders' service was honored.
“There is a line that must be held between the light and the dark. Adam chose to stand with you on that line. Adam chose to place himself as a defender against this world's darkness,” said Sowders’ uncle, Carter Stone.
He wore a badge of courage for nearly a decade, and since his high school days, had been a volunteer firefighter in Somerville.
“Adam gave our firefighters the trust, faith and courage to go into a burning building with him by our side,” said Somerville Volunteer Firefighter Patrick Mantey.
But on Dec. 19 -- and at only 31-years-old -- tragedy struck the life of Sowders when he was shot while serving a search warrant at a home south of Snook.
“On the authority of Sheriff Dale Stroud of the Burleson County Sheriff's Department, Badge #904 is officially retired and Adam Sowders is officially retired. God Speed Adam Sowders,” said a dispatcher during the final tone out for the fallen deputy.
“He was successful because he loved his work and put in the time and effort to be the best he could be,” said Stroud. “He always practiced compassion and fairness even though he was routinely confronted with persons who were not always deserving of that. He exemplified the qualities we always hope someone exemplifies when they pin on that badge.”