SAN ANTONIO - Officers gathered in a side room at Augie's Alamo City BBQ Steakhouse, remembering Guy Gaddis, a slain Houston police officer whose memory lives on through them.
"So when you say he's gone, no he's not. He's here," Rio Garcia, Thin Blue Line Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club national president, said while tapping his chest.
Gaddis was shot in the head by a suspect he was transporting in January 1994. The motorcycle club and officers who knew Gaddis met in San Antonio Saturday evening for dinner with his surviving family, including his 22-year-old daughter, Stephanie.
It's the second such dinner with the family. Garcia said the first happened February this year after officers saw a letter Stephanie wrote to the father she never met.
"It touched us," Garcia said. "It was our way of showing her dad's spirit lives in us."
Born after her father's death and now living in San Antonio, Stephanie grew up wondering about him.
"It was more of just like thinking how would he have treated me. Or even little things like, 'What did he smell like? Or was he playful with me? Would he have pushed me in school?'"
Now men who knew Stephanie's father tell her about him and ensure he won't be forgotten. At Saturday's dinner, Stephanie, her mother and Gaddis' mother were presented with necklaces with the officer's badge number and "end of watch" date.
It's a date his widow could never forget.
"No one will ever understand the pain," Rose Gaddis said through tears.
Rose Gaddis said she thinks of what happened every day. But having support like this, "It makes it easier," she said. "And it makes me feel as if they were always there."
And the officers say they always will be.
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