EL PASO, Texas - During a time when many are preparing to spend the holidays with family members, one family spent Friday morning saying a final farewell to the man they now call a hero.
El Paso Police officer Angel Garcia, 27, was laid to rest at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in El Paso's Lower Valley.
Ofc. Garcia was struck and killed nearly a week ago on Interstate 10 while on duty. He was removing a ladder a from the middle of the freeway when he was hit in a chain reaction wreck.
The investigation of the crash is still ongoing.
Dozens filled the pews of Corpus Christi church in the Lower Valley. Outside, residents and neighbors of the church stood along the sidewalk to honor the fallen soldier. Children waved American flags as the the casket carrying Garcia's body, draped in a U.S. flag was escorted inside.
During the sermon a priest said he will be remembered as a hero.
"You were a great symbol of Christian life in the department of police," said the priest.
A motorcade that included police officers and deputies from the El Paso Sheriff's Office led the procession to Mt. Carmel
The family asked members of the media to respect their privacy.
All media was kept outside of the church and remained about 50 yards back from where Garcia was buried.
Tears were shed and wiped away as family, friends and uniformed officers said their final good-byes.
ABC-7 spoke members of the police department who described Ofc. Garcia as an ideal officer with respect for the force.
"As an officer he gave 100% all the time," said Lieutenant Gabriel Lucero.
Lt. Lucero said he was aways willing help others and "always eager to learn".
Sergeant Lawrence Lujan, a shift supervisor, said Garcia was always the first one ready to begin the work day by beating everyone to the gym hours before the start of his shift.
"I would get there early and he was done with his workout, showered and ready to go," said Sgt. Lujan.
Ofc. Garcia also served in the United States Marine Corps before joining the police department. He was a recent graduate of the police academy with only 9 months on the force before he was killed.
As a former serviceman, Sgt. Lujan said Garcia understood police code, protocol and the meaning of loyalty to the force.
It was his loyalty to serve and protect the people of El Paso that ultimately took his life.
"The bible teaches us that no greater demonstration of love from man is to give his life for someone else. In this case, his life was lost to help others survive. There was a lot of traffic going through the interstate on that day and someone else could've run over that ladder lost their life," said Sgt. Lawrence.
Ofc. Garcia is survived by his parents, brother and sister.