Emotional policeman

More than 850 officers from across Texas attend services.

Robby Robertson
Athens Review, Athens, Texas

.With reverence in their hearts and tears in their eyes, crowds of law enforcement officials and other mourners remembered Henderson County Sheriff’s Deputy Tony Price Ogburn Thursday afternoon at the First Baptist Church of Athens. He was later buried with honors at Oaklawn Memorial Park.

Ogburn, 61, of Log Cabin, died from a gunshot wound suffered May 17 in Payne Springs after alleged gunman Randall Wayne Mays, 47, opened fire on officers responding to a domestic disturbance call.

Smith County is currently holding Mays in their jail on a $2 million bond.

On May 23 crowds gathered to honor Sheriff’s Deputy Paul Steven Habelt, who also suffered a fatal wound responding to the same call for assistance.

Henderson County Deputy Kevin Harris attended Ogburn’s and Habelt’s funerals in a wheelchair after suffering a leg injury from a bullet that struck him during the May 17 incident.

Ogburn moved to Henderson county in 1989 and was a member of the Malakoff Police Department prior to working for the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department. At the department he worked as a jailer, transport officer and civil deputy.

The deputy was also a 32nd degree mason.

Prior to moving to Henderson county he lived in the Dallas area, where he served as a supervisor with Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

Ogburn also worked for various media outlets in Dallas, Los Angeles and Chicago.

A lone bag piper played as he entered the church sanctuary and headed towards the front which was adorned in flower sprays of every color.

Ribbons attached to the arrangements read inspiring words such as “In loving memory,” and “Friend.” The closed casket was draped with the American flag and a portrait of the fallen hero stood on an easel nearby.

The church sanctuary — which seats 700, Pastor Kyle Henderson said — was full with those remembering Ogburn.

The Rev. Jackie Coleman officiated over the ceremony and spoke of the man “Brother Tony” was and how he loved his God.

“We should thank Brother Tony for being a vigilant guard over this community,” Coleman said,.

He spoke of the plans the deputy had made for the men’s group in which he was president.

“We will honor the plans he made (of a Labor Day retreat),” the reverend said.

During the funeral service, Coleman spoke about God making fishers of men and that Ogburn understood this and his great belief in Jesus showed his beliefs.

“He left us an example that will be hard to follow,” Coleman said. “ He (Tony) just wanted to be a servant in the church.”

Following Coleman’s sermon Chris Baker sang a solo and then the congregation filed past the coffin.

Outside, various mourners commented, “He was a good man,” and “He loved God,” even though the weather was hot and the sun beat down on those waiting to honor Ogburn’s memory.

“The Lord touched my heart in there,” Phillip Faria, of Harvest Time Riders in Athens, said.

“My heart just goes out all those people and I pray the lord gives them the comfort they are seeking,” he said.

Gatherers commented on the presence the deputy displayed in the community as well.

“Anyone that went up 198 knew Tony,” Sandra Agin said.

She said she believed the outpouring of support in the community was good for the family.

Road Captain and Vice-president of the Harvest Time Riders Bill Beck said, “He was a man of God and he lived for God — that is why Harvest Time Riders are here in Tony’s memory.”

Burial with honors followed the church service allowing anyone to be present including officers from all over the state of Texas.

A life-size exact replica of the Liberty Bell awaited Ogburn at the cemetery just as it awaited Habelt’s graveside service on Monday,.

David Hall travels with the bell in honor of America’s heroes.

“We toll the bell for heroes like these deputies,” he said. “These are the people that make America a place where everyone wants to live.”

The graveside service began in prayer followed by a 21-gun salute.

“Taps” played in all directions but one as a riderless horse was escorted past the graveside.

“Amazing Grace” was played on the bagpipes as officers stood at attention for the memory of a man some had never met.

A cemetery worker said he counted 306 official vehicles at the cemetery representing officers from areas including Smith, Henderson, Anderson, Van Zandt and Kaufman counties. Officials were also represented from towns throughout the state as well as Border Patrol and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Service.

In the distance, the call for “Ogburn 564” was heard three times from a police radio.

Each time there was no response.

The final words over the radio cut through the quiet — “Ogburn 564, Godspeed.”

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