BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It was an emotional goodbye to 50 year old Moody Police Officer, Lt. Stephen Williams today. Williams died in the line of duty last week. It was an emotional funeral, especially as both of his son’s spoke about their father.
Williams had three children. Two sons and a daughter. Both sons, one a graduate of the US Coast Guard and another will graduate next year. They told the overflow crowd they are proud of their father and he raised them right way.
Williams casket was draped in the American flag. The First Baptist Church of Moody was packed with visitors. Lake Williams, the oldest, just graduated from the Coast Guard Academy which his father was very proud. “I’ve been telling myself. Dad I can’t do this without you but deep down I knew and he knew he gave me everything I needed to be the man I need to be,” Lake Williams said.
Both sons spoke of how their father would tell them he loved them and raised them to do the right things. Cole Williams wished he could have stopped his father from answering that final call but he knew his father would still answer it. “He knew somebody has to do it and people need him that is the type of person he is,” Cole Williams said.
Williams worked with the group Humanizing the Badge. A long time friend read his letter Williams wrote if he should die in the line of duty. It was called “Don’t Cry for Me”. “Please don’t cry for me. I lived on principals such as truth, honor and courage.Don’t cry for me for I knew I might to have make a sacrifice I might I have to make and I accepted that risk any way,” Tristi Giddens said.
A moving service. There were some funny stories. Williams was buried at Alabama’s National Cemetery for the military. He served in the Air Force and leaves behind family and friends who loved him very much.
For those who did not attend the funeral they lined up along Moody Parkway to pay their last respects. “I feel like it was very important to come out here and support the Moody Police Department. I came across Sgt. Williams before. He was very kind to me and my children,” Stephanie Hill said.
Once the procession of police, sheriff and fire department vehicles started people lined the parkway. Waving flags and Williams’ hearse came by. One man drove from Birmingham. “Members of our family are in the military. We respect the flag. I have members of my family in law enforcement. We fully support the police. We know they are under lot of pressure,” Tommy Smith said.
Hundreds of law enforcement vehicles from across Alabama took part in the procession. This included a Moody woman whose son is a Birmingham police detective. “I feel like we should be honoring this officer for putting his life on the line. These officers leave their families every day not knowing when the are going out if they are going to come home,” Laura Wallace said.