When Haley Smith was driving in the processional for a recently fallen police officer, she noticed something that made her heart fill with pride for her local community.
Captain Paul Phillips suddenly passed away in his Bartlett, Tennessee, home on July 11, 2018. His life and 25 years of service greatly impacted the community.
In a Facebook post announcing his passing, the Bartlett Police Department said, “Always joking and eager to make everyone laugh, Captain Phillips was loved by everyone who knew him.”
“Please remember to keep his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” the post ended.
Smith knew Captain Phillips from when her husband worked with him at the police department. From the interactions she had with Captain Phillips, she said he was “very happy and funny.”
“He was a faithful servant to his community for over 25 years,” she told Liftable. “Paul was a dedicated family man and a mentor to many fellow officers. He was loved and respected by many.”
His death was felt greatly by the community. Many people pulled over to give respect while the processional passed on July 17, 2018, but one particular UPS driver went the extra mile.
Smith immediately noticed the UPS driver, Sean Brockway, as he stood by his truck in the thick Tennessee summer heat. Even though the lines of cars for Captain Phillips were long, Brockway stood and showed his respect until all of them had passed.
She told Liftable, “I was so happy to see someone showing such a high level of respect that you really don’t see much anymore, especially for police officers.”
“It made my heart fill with so much happiness and pride for our community,” she continued. “It was an honor to witness.”
As the wife of a man who used to be a police officer, Smith is no stranger to the worry that comes while a loved one is serving. She said she still worries for other family members and friends who make the daily sacrifice to serve their communities loyally.
But signs of respect shown by those in the community, like the one Brockway displayed, also help to ease her worry.
“People like this UPS driver and all the thousands of people who have liked, shared, or commented on my post ease my worry,” she told Liftable. “With all the bad that is being shared these days there really is so much good! This goodness and these good people ease my worry.”
Smith only had a message of gratitude to send to Brockway.
“Thank you! In a day full of sorrow for a life lost too soon, there you were like a ray of hope,” she said. “You are amazing and deserve all the recognition. We need more people like you.”