KALAMAZOO COUNTY, MI – Ryan Proxmire was a hard worker who enjoyed his job at the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, but always made time for his family.
“What a good son,” said his father Mark Proxmire. “I am very proud of him and what he has done.”
Proxmire, 39, was shot dead in a police chase on August 14 and died of his injuries on August 15. MPs were suing Vicksburg resident Kyle Goidosik, 35, who was shot by them. Proxmire, who worked for the sheriff’s office for nine years, was posthumously promoted to sergeant.
More than 300 first responders from at least 50 different police, fire and emergency medicine departments attended the memorial service on Sunday, August 22. Agencies from the greater Kalamazoo area attended, as well as those from Ann Arbor and Bay City.
Related: ‘Very heartbreaking,’ says community member as hundreds line the streets of Kalamazoo for Proxmire’s deputy funeral procession
“I never cared about him because I had complete confidence in his abilities,” said his wife Roanna Proxmire. “I knew he would always follow protocol and was diligent.”
Governor Gretchen Whitmer and many state lawmakers have paid tribute in Proxmire’s honor, Whitmer chief legal counsel Mark Totten said. It will be handed over to his family after the memorial service.
“We all owe you a debt that we can never pay off,” Totten said.
Proxmire graduated from Three Rivers High School in 1999. He completed police school in 2011 and joined the sheriff’s office in 2012, Sheriff Richard Fuller said.
He and Roanna have been married for 15 years, she said. They had four children.
Before joining the sheriff’s office, Proxmire was a truck driver with Roanna. The pair would drive across the country together.
He always knew how to distinguish good characters from bad and guessed the end of a movie, said Roanna. He also had a silly side where he sang for his dogs while giving them treats. The couple would still be laughing and having fun, she said.
Proxmire’s death hardened Mark Proxmire’s heart, he said. But seeing all the community support from people along the procession route on Sunday morning, and the support of fellow officers, helped soften it, he said.
“I don’t want my son’s life to be wasted in vain,” said Mark Proxmire. “I don’t want his name to be forgotten.
His coworkers were his family and he loved his job, Fuller said.
“Thanks for sharing Ryan with us over the past nine years,” Fuller said. “We were lucky to have him by our side. He served with dignity, honor and respect which he showed to his peers and to the community. His actions will leave a lasting impression.
Proxmire was someone his fellow officers could count on and he showed great leadership skills, Fuller said.
While in the sheriff’s office, he helped train other officers and served as a temporary sergeant when needed. He also liked to run 5K and encouraged other officers to join him, Fuller said.
Proxmire received a Purple Heart and a Medal of Valor from the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office. The medals are for his courageous actions, Fuller said.
You could always count on Proxmire for a quick backup whenever it was needed, Supervising Sgt. Christopher Hoffman said. He said Proxmire would always arrive with squeal of the brakes because he was driving fast to be there for his fellow officers.
If Proxmire could talk to his fellow officers, he would tell them, “Stop dumping this and get back to work,” Hoffman said.
Photos of Proxmire in uniform or with other officers show the joy he derived from his job, said Rev. Thaddeus Stout, pastor of the 12th Street Baptist Church in Kalamazoo.
“If there is one legacy his life as an officer can leave, it would be better protection, better security and better people,” Stout said.
God is there to help people as they cry and wipe away their tears, Stout said. He said there was hope because loved ones will be reunited with Proxmire after death.
A final call for Proxmire fell on the police scanner during the memorial service.
“Sergeant. Proxmire, your legacy will live on through your family and your honor will continue through all of us, ”the call said.
The service ended with a 21-gun salute, the game of Taps and a helicopter flight.
“He made the ultimate sacrifice in his duty,” Stout said. “His family also makes a huge and continuing sacrifice by living on this land without him.”
Read all the articles on Proxmire here.
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