Hundreds came together, Wednesday, to pay tribute to Midland County Sheriff, Gary Painter.
It was an emotional afternoon at the Nalley-Pickle and Welch Funeral Home as visitors from, near and far, offered their condolences. But the outpour of love and support was deeply felt by the Painter family.
“The support we have received from the citizens of Midland County, as well as the citizens of Texas, is uplifting,” said son, Justin Painter. “They shared their condolences, they’ve shared stories that some of us don’t even know… The line continued.”
Painter recalls his father being a family man. “He was a fantastic father. He was always there.”
And while he was fortunate to speak to his father on the Friday before his passing, the hardest part is still saying, “Goodbye.”
“We just hope that we can live up to his standards, and continue his legacy – his legend that he’s left behind.”
And among the crowd were Gary Painter’s fellow officers. Assistant Chief of Border Patrol Academy, Carlos Ortiz, says the impact Painter had on Midland, and Texas, was evident Wednesday afternoon.
“You see that Sheriff Painter had friends in every walk of life. You see different uniforms, different colored uniforms, and different agencies gathered here to honor him.”
And Missie Butts of the Odessa Police Department Honor Guard says Painter was always a stand-up man.
“He stood up for his Honor Guard, his Sheriff’s department… He was just all-around a great man. It’d be hard for somebody to fill his shoes.
And while the hardest days of healing are still to come, Painter says his family is taking it day by day.
“As a community we just knew he was taking care of us, and he’ll be deeply missed,” said Midland resident, Lynda Spinks.