Watermark Family Prayer: Reconciliation, Unity, and Action
Dee Elliott Celebration of Life
Sherrard Celebration of Life
Celebration of Life for Austin Silva (Message)
Celebration of Life for Austin Silva (Full Celebration)
Jennifer Clouse Memorial Service (Message)
Jennifer Clouse Memorial Service (Full Celebration)
Police Sgt. Michael Smith Funeral
Please be seated. Welcome. My name is Todd Wagner. I have the privilege of serving with many others here, this community, this family, this city. Mike Smith was my friend. Eleven years ago, he came here as part of his desire to, outside of his normal service with the police department, protect and provide for us on the weekends.
Mike didn't just come here to serve. He quickly became a part of our family. He knew that to be a part of his family on Sunday mornings meant that he had to have other places he would gather with his people. Mike became a member of our body and was deeply loved, as you will hear throughout the day.
He defined Dallas' finest. He was marked by competency and character and calm. His gentle strength, his dignity, his honor, his humility, his love for others all speak to the fact that Mike Smith did not just go to church; he followed Jesus Christ. One of the ways we know we can honor Mike today is to honor the love that informed so much of his life.
Like all great leaders do, he served. Like all great lovers do, he gave his life for those he desired to serve and protect. We honor Mike, and we honor Mike especially honoring the one in whose steps he followed, Jesus Christ, who showed us what leadership looked like, for even the Son of Man did not come into the world in order to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
I am pleased to get to introduce to you now another servant of this city. He is our chief. He's a man of faith. He's a man of dignity and honor and competency as we have seen. I am grateful for him, our mayor, all the men and women in blue who are here today.
I love that the very first thing our city did (as I talked with Mayor Rawlings a second ago) is we called ourselves to pray, not just in a formal way but because it's who we are as a people of faith. We grieve today, but not as those who have no hope. I'm thankful that I get to introduce fellow brother in Christ, a servant, our chief, Chief Brown.
Chief David Brown: Heidi, thank you so much for giving me the pleasure and the privilege to speak to you today. As people of faith, we struggle during tragedy to hang onto our faith because we're flawed humans. We have doubts. Also, as a police officer, we struggle when we don't feel the support that we so desperately need. Yet, we sacrifice.
This was the ultimate sacrifice. I have seen a lot of tragedy, so I'm not saying things that I heard about. This is what I know to be true. There is nothing too hard for God, Heidi, nothing. Trust the Lord with all your mind. Don't lean to your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all of your ways. Heidi, you let him direct your path.
We see the worst in people in this profession. We still make house calls. If you call 911, we're going to be there. Here is what I have never seen, even though I have seen a lot of bad things in this world. I've never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed, Mike's children, beg for bread. We don't understand always what God has in store for us, but we know his ways are not our ways, and because of my belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Mike closed his eyes in history and then opened them in heaven.
That's the belief we hang onto. No more pain, Heidi. No more pain in heaven. No more suffering. No more racial division in heaven. God has no respect of persons. No more strife. There aren't any 911 calls in heaven. There aren't any family disturbances in heaven. No active shooters in heaven, no mental illness in heaven, no poverty in heaven, and no poor-performance schools in heaven.
Every day is Sunday in heaven, and the Sabbath will have no end. This is our hope. This is our belief. This is what we hang onto for dear life so that we can one day see Mike. One day, we'll see Mike again, but not yet. Heidi, there is a life for you to live now in honor of Mike, and to your children, there is a life for you to live now in honor of your father. We are your family.
Let me do something real quick. My brothers in blue and khaki, let's stand. This is your family now. This is your family. Thank you, brothers and sisters. We're here for you. As I take my seat, I want to make sure my brothers were paying attention to me at the memorial service. How long are we going to love Heidi and this family? Always. Repeat after me. Always. Heidi, always.
Anthony Pickens: Heidi, I want to thank you and the family for allowing me to speak about Mike. Mike and I have been working an extra job at Cinemark movie theater for the last 16 years every Wednesday night. Within that 16 years, we worked here at Watermark. We joined Watermark at the same time together and joined the same Community Group, led by a friend, Michael Cohen.
Working with someone that long, you get to know one another and build a friendship. When promoting to sergeant, Mike bought me a gift, a gold pen and a bottle of Advil. He said, "You will need the Advil more than the pen," and said, "Welcome to my world." On Wednesday nights at the movie theater, we would talk about the calls we went on during the week. I would say, "Let me tell you about this call I was on." After I finished, he would say, "I have one better than that." Then he would tell me about his call.
We would ask each other how we would handle the call and what we could do differently. From that conversation, we would talk about our families. Mike loved his family dearly. He was a devoted husband to Heidi and a great father to Victoria and Caroline. Mike would talk about the many vacation trips to Port Aransas and Galveston, Texas, picking up seashells along the shoreline with the girls, and other vacations.
Mike talked about how he would make pancakes in the morning for the family. Mike was committed to the job. He was professional, dedicated, a perfectionist, by the rules, and stern when needed, but also compassionate. Here at Watermark, Mike would come in 30 minutes before his shift, check on the doors, and talk to the staff and members. Mike impacted a lot of lives. He was always engaging with people. Anyone who had contact with Mike would have a Mike story.
In closing, our hearts are heavy. We all are heartbroken. Mike was a Christian. He was a family man, a loving, devoted husband to Heidi, a loving, great father to Victoria and Carolina, a wonderful brother to his sister Yea-Mei and his brother Billy and their spouses. Mike will always be within our hearts. I will miss my friend deeply. Thank you.
Kyle Land: I would like to thank the family for letting me speak about my friend, Mike. A little over 10 years ago, I stood in a very similar church, stared into a sea of eerily similar faces, asked to eulogize my dear friend and partner, Brian Jackson. I struggled greatly with what to say. How do I honor my friend in such a short amount of time and provide people an opportunity to know the man Brian was?
As I stumbled through my eulogy and fought through my emotions, I was strengthened and calmed by the presence behind me on stage, Mike. Mike has stood behind me or by my side through my most difficult times. He was my supervisor for several years when I was in patrol, protecting not only the citizens of Dallas from the criminals but also protecting them from me as I tried to learn how to be a cop.
He was my mentor, teaching me the value of communication and treating each person we came in contact with as a human being, deserving of being heard and respected. He was a confidante, allowing me to share my struggles and frustrations but never letting me succumb to them, teaching me how to focus and temporarily detach my emotions so I could complete my task.
Most importantly, he was my good friend. He was my big brother. In fact, now that I think of it, I imagine that's why he liked me as well. He was a tall man, as I'm only 5-foot-8. I spent many days looking up to Mike. Truth be told, I spend most of my days looking up to people. Standing next to Mike on Lower Greenville as we heard of the drunk masses, I'm sure many people thought, "Isn't that cute? That police officer bought his son a uniform and brought him to work."
I have heard so many amazing things about Mike and each of the fallen officers from friends, family, and coworkers. There is nothing I can add to what has already been spoken. We all know Mike's courage, bravery, selflessness, and immense love for family. I want to share a story of another type of courage Mike possessed, a type of courage I pray I may possess some day.
As I sat in third watch detail at Central Patrol Station in 2003, finally making it to off-field training and getting my permanent patrol assignment, I was nervous, excited, and quite frankly, ignored. I was a rookie. I hadn't earned my spot yet. I waited for roll call to begin. I was trying to keep my ADD in check by looking at all of the boot marks and scuff marks on the floor and counting them.
I remember hearing the detail room open and the sounds of the boots walking on the small, elevated platform where the sergeants sat to take roll. I slowly shifted my attention from the floor where the sergeants were seated, and as my eyes began to move up, I noticed the most amazing smooth and tan legs I had ever seen. My mind began to race. I was thinking, "Holy cow. My sergeant has some hot, sexy legs and has to be smoking hot.
As I followed those smooth legs up so I could see my future wife, my dreams of a rookie-sergeant relationship quickly evaporated when my eyes met Mike's eyes. He was burning a hole through my skull with a Mike look that only those who knew Mike understand what I'm referring to. Heidi, this would be the look he gives you when your gas tank is half full. You know that look. I've been in the car.
In a clear, firm voice, Mike asked me, "Did you find what you were looking for?" I figured I had already lost my job, so it didn't really matter what I said at this point. I responded humbly and ashamed, "No, sir. I thought you were a woman." I dare you to find another police officer, whether male or female, with smoother legs and able to make those FedEx police shorts look as professional as Mike did.
That's a type of courage I don't possess but the type Mike exemplified. He stood up for what he believed in, whether that meant being comfortable and cool in summer heat wearing those horrible uniform shorts or verbalizing what was wrong, what needs to be fixed, and how to accomplish that task.
Ten and a half years ago, Mike stood behind me, urging me on, but now our roles have changed, Mike. It's now my turn to stand behind you, support you, your family, and challenge everyone in this room and listening to be courageous in the days and weeks and months ahead. This desire to uphold what is right and the unity that has been created between law enforcement and the communities cannot stop once the final officer has been laid to rest.
We cannot allow tragedy to continue to bring us together. We must find ways in which to continue this unity and desire to fight back against unjust actions for years to come. It is easy to say and easy for me to read off of a piece of paper, but it is possible. How do we move forward? To the community, every officer in here is in a relationship with their community, whether you like it or not. We have been in a relationship with you for a long time.
Unfortunately, this relationship has been hurt by the misdeeds of the few, whether that be from law enforcement or from the civilians who wish to do others harm. In order to forge a continued relationship, forgiveness of the hurt must come first. I have heard many amazing speeches throughout this week, powerful words spoken by powerful, knowledgeable leaders.
They say love is the answer. It sounds great, but how do we accomplish that when there has been so much hatred, tension, fear, and confusion? Forgiveness must come first for love to be established, the same forgiveness that Jesus Christ gives us. Communication and change of action must follow to reestablish that trust, so please allow me to take that first step.
Forgiveness. To those protestors who cried out Thursday night to my team as we rushed to El Centro to help out, "How does it feel to be the ones hunted now?" I say to you, I'm sorry. I am so very sorry that you felt as if your voice, your opinion, and your life did not matter to us. I am sorry for the misdeeds and wrongs of the few in my profession over the years who have caused and created this distrust, fear, and anger toward law enforcement.
We want a relationship in the community because we cannot carry this fight by ourselves. We cannot fight the criminals and also the people we have sworn to protect. You do matter. The only way to rebuild trust is through actions, so I ask the news media to help us in that. I know it is your job to convey the news and report information so all may know what is going on in the world. You have a great responsibility. With that responsibility comes enormous power.
You have the power to control the masses with the stories you air. It is extremely difficult for a community to trust its police officers when all that is aired are reasons why they should not trust their police officers. You guys are still too tall. I'm not telling you to stop sharing information. I'm just asking that you share all of it. The thousands of good things law enforcement does across this country every second, every community deserves to hear.
The community needs to be reassured that even though there may have been some bad apples in our bunch, they are still protected by and able to trust their police department by the numerous positive actions that occur on a daily basis by every single law enforcement officer here today and watching this and out on the streets right now answering 911 calls.
I beseech you. Please help us build this trust again. We cannot do it without you. In closing, we can all continue to honor Mike, Brent, Lorne, Michael, and Patrick by continuing the unity, support, and communication that has been created as a result of their loss. The unity only stops when we make it stop. Thank you.
Shane Barnard: Let's pray together. Psalm 46:1: "The Lord is my refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble."
Father, we are in a time of trouble, so we, in this time together, would call upon you, that in a real way, you would come be a very present help, Lord. In Jesus' name.
Todd Wagner: Let's pray.
Lord, you are the one we need. You are the one who, though you slay me, yet will we worship you. We know you are good. We know you are sovereign. We know you make no mistakes. We thank you that even in our worship, we can acknowledge your greatness beyond ours in that we can tell you that what you're doing doesn't seem to make much sense.
We can worship you by acknowledging that you frustrate us sometimes. We can worship you by acknowledging that our ways aren't your ways. We can worship you by listening and not by telling you what you're doing wrong but by remembering what you have done for the wrong we have done to one another.
I pray, Lord, that we would learn the words of Job that were just sung before us. Though you slay me, though this world is not as we wish it would be, we can see that you're working in the middle of it to accomplish something far better than we could ever imagine. We thank you that that is your character. We thank you that that is your history.
We thank you that when we look at the most evil moment in history, a cross where a good and perfect, healing, miracle-working, divine man suffered on, we can see in that moment, we could see no good when our greatest good was at work. Lord, we learn to trust you even now in things we cannot understand. I pray especially for Victoria and for Carolina, for Heidi, for other families of our other fallen friends in this city and around the world as we learn to say, "Though you slay me, yet I will worship you." Teach us. Remind us. In Jesus' name, amen.
There are three things I can see all the time to cause people to not want to hang out in rooms like this with people like me. You need to know this about me. I never wanted to do what I'm doing. I had other plans that were redirected gently to where now I am a guy who wears the label of pastor. You may have never have wanted to wear the label of cop, or maybe you always did.
What I wanted to do was to be somebody who served and helped people. Frankly, I didn't see the church as a place where people were often helped. I saw the church as a place where hypocrisy was rampant, injustice was frankly just as prevalent as it was outside of it, and where I didn't really experience love. I saw a lot of superficiality.
People today will move away from things of faith because of hypocrisy, injustice, and a lack of love. People don't like law officers because they think they're hypocritical and unjust. They don't often feel love from them. We have a lot in common. What I love to tell people is that if you hate hypocrisy and injustice and if you're looking for love, then Jesus is your man because nobody hated hypocrisy more than him. Nobody was more committed to justice more than him. Nobody showed what love looks like more than him.
What I am pleased to do from personal relationship, as many of our friends who just spoke for three minutes in a very stirring way, each of them, knew about Mike… If you didn't like hypocrisy and injustice, and you like love, I wish you would have known this police officer. You would have learned to love police.
How do I know that? I know that because a good friend of mine who lived a life that was not one of a present father like Mike longed to be… Victoria, you and I just met a few days ago, but I knew you because I knew your dad. I got regular updates on how he was going to have to get a thicker catcher's mitt to catch that ever-increasing speed of your pitch. He loved to talk about your volleyball.
He loved to talk about how proud he was of you, Caroline. He loved to talk about how he longed for his family to be with him every chance he got. Mike was a man who loved people well. I had a friend who was not, as I said, a present father like Mike. He lost his little girl to decisions that were hurting her and affecting her and caused her to have interactions with some of you.
As she went through the criminal court system, part of her recovery was going to have her find some sort of treatment for some of her addictions and some of her choices. She chose to have some of that played out here at a thing we have called re:generation on Monday nights that Mike served at faithfully.
After Mike was lost late last Thursday night, she jumped online and threw this Facebook post up there. She said, "I'm ashamed to say that I hated, I hated, I HATED cops, all because of one bad experience that was more my choice than theirs. Then I started going to church, and unwillingly, I became friends with an officer there who watched out for the church. I never looked at him. I ignored him, as people who are not prone to want to look at folks who are doing right do.
I didn't want to be there, but I was court-ordered to be there, and I was forced to be there. I never wanted to see him, but I could tell even when I wasn't looking at him that this one officer always was looking at me. He patiently waited over weeks to confront me because it was probably obvious that I had bitter feelings toward men dressed like him.
When he did speak to me, it softened my heart and made me realize that not every officer is a power-hungry jerk. He was so kind that every judgment I had was wiped clean. I just found out he died in the shooting in my city, and my heart aches. His love changed my life and my outlook on who I thought was my enemy. I now know they are not there to ruin lives but to save. Rest in peace, Officer Smith."
You see, that's what love does. That's what people who are not hypocritical, what people who love justice, what people who love people do. They change people. They make enemies friends. That's how they get rid of their enemies. They love them. That's what you all are asked to do. It is not the easiest of jobs to love people who say, "Now you're the hunted. You go get yourself some of that. How do you like it?"
It's the mark of leadership. I tell young leaders often that leadership is a commitment to being misunderstood. Mayor Rawlings, have you ever been misunderstood in trying to lead this city? I bet you have. Chief Brown, have you ever been misunderstood when you spoke out against what you perceived as hypocrisy amongst your forces? I think you have. Leadership is a commitment to being misunderstood, and that's what you men and women are. You're leaders.
The problem with our country is that most of our leaders are using their power and their position to maintain their power and position, but the job of great leaders is to use their power and position to serve and protect others. Mike did that. Mike did that because he followed one who modeled for him that that is what you do. Mike did that because he understood the words of Scripture.
"If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But you love your enemies. You love the citizens who curse you, and you do good and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be called sons of the Most High, and he himself, the one you say you know if you know Jesus Christ, is kind to evil and ungrateful men."
He has been kind to me, an evil and ungrateful man. It takes courage to love like that. Cpl. Land, great job talking about our King and our hope and why we follow him. I'm telling you, Mike wasn't this guy. What I brought up here wasn't a bunch of notes. What I brought up here was a bunch of single-spaced, typed-out posts that members of our body, when they heard that Mike was one of the ones who gave his life for our city, just jumped on there and just started writing things down.
It's not going to surprise you. I'm just going to highlight a few. "This guy was serious about his job, but he took time to get to know us. He was proud of his family. He genuinely cared about people. I always remember him smiling and saying hello and greeting everyone. He had a contagious and genuine smile. He would always greet us with a warm smile.
He talked about his family. He would encourage us. He loved doting on his daughters and their success growing up as young girls. You need to know we knew you because your father talked about you. He smiled, encouraged, and listened. I'll miss his smirk, his stories, his love for children, his smile, his mischievous smile, his smile, his gentleness, his smile."
It goes on and on and on. Look. You might wonder how you become this kind of cop. You become that kind of cop when you have somebody who models for you what greatness does. Anybody can love folks who are being kind to them. It takes men and women, it takes people of honor, it takes leaders to love those who don't love them.
I'm proud to say that Mike was my brother in Christ. I'm proud to say that he protected and served this city. I'm proud to say that he was a police officer just like you. I'm asking you to be a police officer just like him. When you are, it doesn't often get commended in the short run. His leader was not commended in the short run. His leader was scoffed at. His leader was hated. His leader was mocked. His leader was called names and not recognized for who he was. His leader has been given a name above all names.
One day, every man will bow before his leader and recognize him as King. If you live with that same honor and depend on the provision of that great King, as he gave his life for you to provide for you what God requires of each of us, which is perfect justice and perfect love and no hypocrisy, which none of us is capable of… Therefore, he gave his life for you and me.
If you follow him, you too will be commended. God is not so unkind as to forget your kindness in having ministered to and is still ministering to his saints. That's what you are. You're ministers. You may never have wanted to be a minister, but my Bible says that you are his ministers for good.
Nothing bothers good cops like bad cops. Nothing bothers good pastors as much as bad pastors who fleece their flock, who are afraid of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who live hypocritically. Let me just tell you something. If you don't like hypocrisy, Jesus is your man.
I'm not going to read you all of it, but in Matthew 23, all you hear is just Jesus going, "Woe to you hypocrites, you who tithe the dill and the cumin but forsake the weightier things of justice and faithfulness and love. Woe to you hypocrites. You strain out a gnat. You swallow a camel. Woe to you hypocrites." It repeats and repeats and repeats.
Let me just say this. I happen to work here at this place called Watermark, and I sin. I screw up. I hurt my wife. I'm sharp with my kids. I look with a lustful eye, speak with an arrogant tongue. That doesn't make me a hypocrite. People make mistakes. What makes you a hypocrite, what makes you somebody hypocritas, under judgment, is that when you do things that are wrong, you don't think they're wrong. You call them something else. You justify it. You hide behind some code of honor. We don't call what we do wrong.
That's what causes people to say, "That isn't right." In fact, the Scripture says that if any man says he doesn't have sin, he makes God out to be a liar, and the truth of God is not in him. I'll tell you what a hypocrite is. A hypocrite is some joker who says that certain lives matter. Because they're made in the image of God, they need to be recognized. Then he starts to kill other lives. As our chief says, he believes he was committing a righteous act. That is a hypocrite.
I have told my friends a lot that the statement, "Black lives matter," needs to be understood. When I first heard that, I used to say, "That's the most racist statement I have ever heard." Then I called my friends who were black and said, "What are you doing? Why are you saying this?" They explained to me. They said, "Todd, we're saying this because we don't believe that you guys notice some of the injustice we feel like we're experiencing."
I listened some more and said, "Tell me about your experiences." One of the things that one of them said to me that was incredibly insightful was, "Todd, you care about the unborn, right? I know you do. You talk a lot about the unborn. When you say that unborn lives matter, you're not telling me that you think that people who are already born don't matter.
You're just telling me that you feel like there is a certain injustice, a certain purview, a certain way that unborn children are seen and discarded and mistreated and not valued and completely destroyed. You're trying to raise and contextualize the fact that there is a certain segment of society that isn't valued. I sometimes, as a person of color, feel like I'm not valued."
When I heard it that way, it completely changed the way I heard some of my friends when they said, "Black lives matter." Let me just tell you something. Nothing is going to change. When people say, "Black lives matter," and hypocritically destroy any life, in the movement, in the air of thinking the way to get rid of hate is with hate and the way to get rid of injustice is with injustice is so misinformed.
The only way to get rid of darkness is with light. The only way to get rid of hate is with love. The strong go first. I love that Cpl. Land said, "I want to ask your forgiveness for the wrongs that were done to you. I want to understand. I want to work with you. I want to be your brother." As different ones of us have repeated many times over this past week, if we don't learn to live together as brothers, we will die separately as fools.
I love that this is a group of people in this room who aren't looking to be loved and served, but they're there to protect and serve and to protect the rights even of those who sometimes will hurt them. That's what great men always do. If you hate hypocrisy, Jesus is your guy. If you hate injustice, Jesus is your guy. It's true that my God is slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, full of grace and truth. He is compassionate, but the Scripture says by no means will he let the guilty go unpunished.
The Scripture says very clearly that God was so serious about justice that it pleased him to pour out his wrath on his perfect Son. Why did he do that? Because his perfect character and nature desires a complete and perfect sacrifice, something none of us could provide with our lives because all of us have sinned and gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way.
That's why the Lord caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him. He made him who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf so we might become the righteousness of God in him because God cares about justice. Here is what you need to understand. If you have any concept that what God is looking for you to do is perform and get 81 commendations like Mike Smith so you might be noted as a good citizen of earth, you have missed the qualification.
The qualification is that you're perfect like your heavenly Father is perfect. I don't know a perfect cop. I don't know a perfect pastor. I don't know a perfect human. That means that if we serve a just God, all of us are lawbreakers. All of us deserve wrath. God is a loving God, so what he does is provide a loving way for us to be reconciled to him. He does that by taking our sin and giving himself for us to protect and to serve.
"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." He is the ultimate example of what love looks like. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. There is no greater love than this, that a man gives his life for his friends." That is what great men do because great men are made in the image of a great God who did that for us.
We are not doing anything to earn a commendation from God. We are people who have received from God an opportunity to be reconciled to him through Jesus Christ. When we are reconciled to him through Jesus Christ by grace through faith, we respond to that by doing all we can to follow in his ways. When we don't follow in his ways, we don't say because we're cops or pastors, "I didn't sin. That isn't what I did." We say, "That was wrong," and we make it right, and we're not hypocrites because we're not perfect.
Hypocrites do wrong and call it right. Great men seek forgiveness for their mistakes. I'm not surprised to know what Mike did last Thursday night when he heard those cracks of gunfire. Your daddy was brave and strong. Your daddy was humble. He was here early. He left late. He would never ever… I would say, "Mike, go. Go." He goes, "Todd, I'll go when you go."
There is a story of a guy who was captain of a ship. It was a foggy morning. One morning, the fog broke, and as the fog broke, there was a pirate ship not far away that was armed for battle. Cannonballs were flying, and the ship got closer. As the pirates were getting ready to board the deck, the captain called out to his first mate, "Go get me a red shirt. Get me a red shirt."
They got him a red shirt, and the fight ensued. They battled all through the morning. Eventually, the pirates are beaten back, and the wicked men were destroyed, and the ship was maintained. The men were celebrating. They said, "Captain, something confused us. What happened in that moment right before the pirates boarded the ship? You asked for a red shirt. Why did you ask for a red shirt?"
The captain said, "I asked for a red shirt because I knew during the battle I might be wounded, and I didn't want you to see me bleeding and lose heart, so I asked for a red shirt." A couple of weeks passed by. It was another foggy morning. As the fog started to break, it wasn't one pirate ship. It was 10. As those ships moved close, and they got ready to board, the captain looked to his first mate and said, "Go get me some brown shorts."
Mike wore those awkward, tight FedEx shorts with tan legs, and he used them to run toward evil. because he loved. That's what you do. When you do it, you do it well. When you do it poorly, you acknowledge that it was done poorly, and you seek forgiveness, and you seek to make amends. You take responsibility for it. It builds trust.
One of the ministries I have that Jesus never had is the ministry of, "Man, will you forgive me? That wasn't right." When Jesus saw the pirate ship of sin, he ran toward it. That's what great men do. He demonstrated his love in that he gave himself for you and me. I know Mike would want you to know that. If there is good in him, if there is something to be emulated here, he would tell you it is because of Jesus.
Any smile he gave, any kindness he showed, any compassion, any competency that flowed through him, he would say it was because he was seeking to honor the one who gave his life for him, and he would want you to know that. It's what made him a good cop. It's what made him a good man. It's his faith in Jesus that ultimately will allow him to stand before the Lord and not be shaken. It's our faith in Jesus that will allow us to continue to hear and follow in his steps, to follow in Jesus' steps, and not be shaken when the world hates good men.
We don't do what we do because people love us. We do what we do because it's right, and we're ministers of God for good. God doesn't take it kindly when he has bad ministers. I ask you… I implore you, first of all, to reconcile yourself to God, the one who hates hypocrisy, the one who hates injustice, and the God who is love. I ask you to consider Jesus for who he was.
He was a man, a man's man who ran toward sin and death and gave himself willingly. No one took his life. He laid it down, and because he was God, he took it back up again so he could offer you life and show you what a man looks like, just like Mike. That's what saviors do. That's what servants do. Come. Follow. Be forgiven. Be strong.
Father, I thank you for a chance to be together. I thank you for these servants, these ministers of God for good. I thank you for the example of Mike, that we can stand up here, that we're not looking for a church that we can do some ceremony in. We're a home. We're where Mike loved to be. This wasn't a churchgoer. This was a Christ-follower. It showed up in the way he loved people. It showed up in the way he gave his life.
I pray that we who also know Christ would show up and be present in Victoria and Caroline's life, be there to encourage and help Heidi, be ready in all of our cities. I thank you for all of the cities that are represented here to go back, to serve and protect evil, ungrateful men, because that's what we do. I thank you that you know what righteousness and justice is. We don't look to be celebrated here. We look to be servants here and follow you.
Lord, we pray that we would love in such a way that others would trust us. Even if they don't trust us, I pray that in trusting you, they would see your goodness and that we would live not for a commendation on this side but for the only voice and commendation that matters. I thank you that in this room are all kinds of examples of men who do it right. Help us to not be hypocrites. When we screw up, help us to own it. Help us to love justice and do good. Help us to love.
Thank you that you showed us what love is through Jesus. I pray that somebody in this room here today would come to understand the strength, goodness, and kindness that was represented on that cross. I pray they would come. Lord, though you slay us, we will worship you because you have allowed us to see your goodness in giving yourself that we might be forgiven. We love you. In Jesus' name, amen.
Lance Wyatt: I'm standing here today sharing some of the pieces of the life of a very good friend of mine. Sgt. Michael J. Smith, badge number 6141. Heidi, I want to thank you. I want to thank your daughters. I want to thank your family for giving me the opportunity to speak about Mike today from several different perspectives and let you know the man he is.
Mike was an amazing police officer. He was a loving husband to Heidi, who, in my opinion, grew for the better, as Mike did, in his years through his relationship with you, Heidi. He was a loving and protective father to Victoria and to Caroline. Finally, he served as a protector during his years of service to the United States Army and to the Dallas Police Department.
Mike and I go way back to mid-1992. I was transferred to the Southeast Division as a sergeant, and I was working the late-night shift with Mike in east Oak Cliff. He was a young officer at that particular time. Over the next six years or so, I supervised Mike not only at Southeast but eventually when he came to the division I transferred to, which was the Central Business District.
Looking at Mike's 27 years of service to the city of Dallas, he was the recipient of 51 internal commendations. Those commendations demonstrated actions such as professionalism, dedication to duty, initiative, his professional manner, and diligent work. Then there were 28 external commendations that Mike received during his tenure. Those were from citizens he served.
Some examples of those include volunteer work within the community, providing assistance to outside agencies, but most importantly, from what I saw, it was his caring attitude and his compassion that were referenced within those commendations. Mike received several departmental awards from the Dallas Police Department. He received the Civic Achievement Award in 1991. He was nominated for Officer of the Month in 1991.
He received a Certificate of Merit. He received two Certificates of Merit as part of the unit within the Dallas Police Department. Mike received the Police Shield for injuries sustained within the line of duty. He was named Officer of the Month, was named Officer of the Year, and received the Cops' Cop recognition in January of 2010.
The incident that occurred where Mike received the Police Shield… I was present at the scene that night, and I was present at the hospital afterward. Simply stated, Mike was doing his duty with his fellow officers and was hurt by a suspect who was intent on hurting someone. Mike risked his own safety to protect others that day.
Having worked alongside Mike up until I resigned in September of 1998, I personally witnessed that Mike was the police officer who could be counted on by citizens that he served, by his fellow officers, and by his supervisors, which included me. Mike was meticulous, dare I say it, a perfectionist, Heidi.
One of the areas where I saw that exhibited and demonstrated with Mike was when he decided to train as a Drug Recognition Expert, a DRE. Mike took the training very seriously, and it was lengthy training. It was something he sought out to do to further his abilities to assist other officers. Bluntly, he mastered those techniques of being a DRE.
He was perfect for that type of meticulous work, and I know that I personally used his skills on many occasions to assist us in doing our jobs as police officers for the Dallas Police Department. It did not matter whether it was working overtime on his regular day off or staying late when we needed help, Mike could be counted upon.
His friends, his fellow officers who we worked together with at the Central Business District… Some of them are sitting right down here. Heidi knows this. We were a family. We were brothers and sisters. In speaking with Heidi, she knew that Mike was truly committed to his profession of being a police officer even before she married him.
One thing before I move on. Please understand this clearly. Mike treated others with respect and dignity. Two of the external commendations that I referenced earlier spoke of his caring attitude and his compassion. That should be a reminder to each and every one of us about how a professional police officer should serve in Dallas, Texas, and across the United States.
I can remember Mike and his ways before Heidi. Those ways were certainly not bad but maybe best described, from my perspective, as one-dimensional at best. After Heidi came on the scene, there were changes for the good in the man who I knew. Mike was very intense in all aspects of his life, both work and personal.
With Heidi in his life, even while they dated, I saw a gradual change, a softening in a small way of who Mike was outside work. Heidi and I spent many evenings together when she would ride along with me in the Dallas Police vehicle that I had the pleasure to drive. We would talk about things about Mike, we would talk about things about her, and on occasion, we would laugh, and it was usually when we would show up at a location where Mike was doing his duty.
I can tell you that Mike didn't want me there, Heidi, and he sure didn't want you there, because he was concerned that we might disrupt what he was doing as a Dallas Police Department Officer. One of the things Heidi and I talked about in the many times we rode around and that we have talked about in the last couple of days was dessert before dinner. Some of you who worked with Mike know what I'm talking about. I just don't understand that, people, and I don't think I ever will.
Prior to their marriage, Mike and Heidi had many conversations about their expectations for life. Heidi mentioned to me in our conversation about Mike's strong conviction regarding their children, that their children would attend a Catholic school. Mike spoke of certain non-negotiable values that would be instilled within their children: the necessity of prayer, the significance of God within our nation's fabric, and the sense of right and wrong, or put another way, a sense of good versus evil.
In Heidi's view, from our conversation, it was a relief for her because of the fact that that was so non-negotiable for Mike and how it demonstrated his commitment to his family and to his children even at that early stage of their relationship. Other than my wedding and giving away my daughter at her wedding, I can only remember being involved in one other wedding, and that was Mike and Heidi's wedding. I know for all of us, that was one happy day, for Mike and for Heidi and for those of us who were present.
However, as Heidi and I spoke yesterday about their wedding, we remembered something happened during the vows. During the vows, when there was the mention of, "For better or for worse," when that was spoken, Heidi and I looked at one another just for a second, grinning, knowing at that point about how Mike could be.
As with any marriage, that is something that must be handled in love, and that was the case with Mike and Heidi. Over the many years of marriage, I know I observed positive changes in Mike as Heidi's influence continued to grow the man I know. Heidi also recalled the many times of providing care for her, such as during her first pregnancy when she was placed on bed rest for a period of time.
We talked about Mike the rule-maker and how his expectations were that the rules would be followed. That was not always the case in his world, and it very much bothered him when the rules didn't get followed to his standards. With the birth of their daughter Victoria, those who knew Mike saw that committed love to his firstborn daughter. Regardless of his hours, regardless of his work shift, Mike was committed to assisting in the care of Victoria.
Being the firstborn, as Mike was, he had certain expectations for his oldest daughter. From what I have been told, those expectations were consistent. Mike and Heidi were blessed with a second daughter, Caroline, and the family was set. From my discussions with Heidi and the girls, Mike enjoyed spending time with his daughters. I know Mike taught them how to cook. I will just tell you, girls, that that will be a gift that will remain with you for the rest of your lives.
Victoria has been involved with sports, including softball and volleyball. Mike has always focused on providing Victoria with additional coaching and training that she needed, the best opportunities she could have for success and safety while participating in what she loved doing. Heidi told me that even when Mike wasn't present for those games, he was constantly checking in on how they were going.
He wanted to know how Victoria played. He wanted to watch some of the video so he could not only critique you, Victoria, but he also wanted to praise you in the great job you did. With Caroline, being the youngest daughter, from what I was told, that came with some additional benefits. From what I was told, Mike was a little bit easier on Caroline. Mike and Caroline would spend time gardening.
They would play games, including Wii tennis, Zuma (I think it's a frog game), and the robot game. They would play card games, including Go Fish and Battle. They liked to play Checkers. One thing I was told… You all probably know this if you know Mike. He hated to lose. One thing that was not surprising that I heard was that Mike expected both of his daughters to be self-sufficient.
In addition to cooking, the girls would assist their dad around the house. One of the things I saw behind me was the family Christmas tree and Mike decorating that. That was something we talked about. Everybody participated in that. It was a family endeavor. One of the things that Heidi told me recently that Mike endeavored to do was to start making bee's wax candles with his daughters.
Heidi also shared with me Mike's commitment to the girls at times such as when they had doctor's appointments or therapy appointments so Heidi could remain at work. On many occasions, Mike would adjust his sleeping schedule to make sure his daughters were where they needed to be. Those were just some of the daddy duties that Mike was committed to while caring for his family.
Some of the words that I have thought of over the past few days to describe my friend Mike Smith include integrity and commitment. Heidi referenced Mike as a caretaker. He was a protector. His view was that it was an honor to serve the public. His intensity, his trustworthiness, his strong sense of right and wrong. Mike always expected people to earn his trust. Finally, Michael was a provider to his family.
The ultimate sacrifice made by Sgt. Mike Smith and the deep loss felt by his family one week ago was something that not a single person can repay. However, as a community of true believers, you all, in integrity, in commitment, honor, and love, we can carry Mike's legacy on and share those important qualities with our children and future generations.
Our stories about Mike… I wish I had hours to stand here to tell you stories about Mike's character. They are meant to be shared by you all, by members of the family. During these past several days, my heart has been heavy. Bluntly, I was angry at the senseless act that took my friend. Despite that loss, I have a choice on how I will live the remainder of my days. I have mentioned that to other people, including Mike's sister.
I believe that Sgt. Mike Smith, my friend, would expect me and you all to focus on the good memories that we have of Michael and the happy times we spent together. I challenge you to change your focus, your thoughts, and allow your hearts to recall the good memories to carry with us of Mike day by day and week by week as we heal.
As difficult as this has been, I pray that God our Father will guide each of you along your path, and I leave you with this Scripture from Proverbs 3:5-6. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Thank you.
Todd: I want you to know that I know my friend Mike, above all people, would want me to tell you of the hope we have found in Jesus Christ. Jesus isn't just some idea. He's not just some propositional statement. He's a person. You need a relationship with him. You can't just answer, "I believe it's true. The story is true."
You have to trust in him. There has to be a moment in your life when you say, "That's my King. That's my Lord. That's my Captain who ran toward my cross, and I personally accept his gracious provision for me. He doesn't just wink at sin because I'm his boy. He doesn't just skate over justice, but because he loves he, he gave himself for me."
It is appointed for a man to die once, and after this comes judgment. I know this. When Mike stood before the Lord, the only commendation he gave was his trust in the cross. Because Mike loves you, I know he would want you to do the same. Consider his Jesus. I want to pray. Then Sergeant is going to come here and explain how we're going to dismiss.
Father, I pray if there is an officer, a person in this room, a friend of Mike's who hasn't become a friend of yours, a really personal friend of yours, not a churchgoer but a Christ-follower who has dealt with his sin, his imperfection, by running to Jesus and taking that incredible provision you offer on a cross, I pray that today, if they have questions, they would get them answered, and they would see their need for you.
I pray that they would see in Mike what men who follow Jesus look like, not perfectly but with purpose, dignity, and humility. Thank you for the example of this man who has served us well by serving you, and we thank you, Father, that you served us by going to the cross. Would you just allow them to come to you and confess their sins, knowing that you're faithful and just to cleanse them from all unrighteousness?
Would you comfort the family? Would you bring hope to us? Will you allow us to be ministers of God for good? Would you help us be kind to evil and ungrateful men, to give our lives as you did because we know and follow you? Thank you, Father, for the police force of this country who is committed to justice, who wants to protect, serve, and love. Help us to love them. In Jesus' name, amen.