Tragedy struck yesterday in Abilene, TX, during the noontime rush, as workers hurried to and from work, or home for a quick bite. One of those rushing grabbed onto the internal and mounted radar of officer Rodney Holder. He was attempting to make a traffic stop on Sayles Blvd, one of the founding thoroughfares of our city, and always one of the busiest, too. He lived in the neighborhood he patrolled, too. It mattered to him to keep his neighbors safe, not just because he knew these were some of the oldest, most treasured homes in the city, truly a part of its history, they were homes of people he knew.
The sirens were sounding and the lights flashing on his motorcycle, but somehow the driver of a car pulling out from an intersecting street was oblivious. Officer Holder was struck, and the impact threw him across the street and under a parked van. The force was so great that his motorcycle tumbled for 30 yards before striking a tree. Numerous neighbors heard the impact, and called for help, one noting that emergency medical support arrived in just seconds. Despite their efforts, Rodney Holder was pronounced dead at Hendrick Medical Center at 12:15 PM. His career had encompassed being a member of the SWAT team, a detective, and several duties promoting public safety throughout the Abilene community, before assuming his job as part of the Traffic Division Motorcycle Unit. Twenty-eight years ended trying to nab a speeder. Officer Holder was doing his job with diligence and conviction yesterday on Sayles Boulevard. He would not have wanted it any other way.
In my years teaching and working as a Training and Curriculum Specialist at Dyess Air Force Base, I only had two encounters with Officer Holder, both when he was helping with presentations on traffic safety for groups of elementary children. Understanding the way young minds think, and having that internal sense that reaches out to children for a laugh at a silly joke, a hug, or one more answer to the same question that you’ve answered 200 times is not something you get from the police academy. Rodney Holder had that special sense, but he always had time for one more of anything he could do to help or meet a need of those he met in the course of any day. He found nobility in a good day’s work.
Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge commented that “He was a good man, a great husband and father, and for sure, one of the best men to have worn our uniform.” Officer Holder’s wife, Annemarie, is a counselor at Austin Elementary School. He is survived by a 13-year-old son and 26-year-old daughter.
His loss will forever be felt in the hearts of his family and the lives of so many, but the lessons left in giving your best self in your everyday life will be celebrated forever, too.
Godspeed, Officer Holder!
Sources: Personal knowledge