The residents of Palestine lined the streets to honor fallen Houston Police Sgt. Harold Preston as he was transported to his hometown of Athens to be laid to rest Saturday, Oct. 31.
“I was so pleased to see how Palestine showed up to honor one of East Texas’ own, Sgt. Harold Preston,” said Diane Davis, a resident and avid community volunteer. “Jack Hallock shared the post about him coming through Palestine on Friday afternoon, I saw it and I just started sharing it and posting it everywhere.”
Davis said she was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Preston, but when she found out he was from Athens, not far from Palestine, she wanted to help make sure he received a proper thanks for his service from our community.
“I got phone calls, messages, texts about what was going to happen” she said. “Things have gotten so bad lately with politics and all, friends are no longer friends, people taking sides, businesses taking sides, so many going back and forth with each other, I just wanted to see our community come together for something good.”
Preston’s death affected many deeply. According to Davis, it was so important to one of the ladies standing by her during the procession that woman said she was going to follow them to Athens to see where he was being buried.
“When the hearse passed by, tears rolled down my face,”Davis said. “To Palestine, we are a good community, I would like to see us come together and make our town what it can be.”
Davis said she would be in prayer for the Preston family.
Preston’s body was escorted from Houston back to Athens.
The procession arrived in Palestine at approximately 12:55 p.m. Saturday, entering Palestine on W. Oak St/US-79, continuing to Palestine Ave., and then turning left onto W. Spring St/TX-19 before proceeding to Athens.
The Palestine Fire Department set up an archway to fly an American flag over W. Spring St/TX-19 for the procession to pass under.
Preston was shot and killed as he and other officers responded to a domestic disturbance call in an apartment complex in Houston.
Preston had served with the Houston Police Department for 41 years and was scheduled to retire in the coming weeks. He is survived by his elderly parents, whom he cared for, and fiancée.