KALAMAZOO, Mich. — West Michigan came together to say goodbye to Sgt. Ryan Proxmire on Sunday.
Community members and law enforcement gathered throughout Kalamazoo to honor Sgt. Proxmire with a procession and memorial service.
Sgt. Proxmire passed away after being shot during a pursuit in Kalamazoo County last weekend. He served with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office for nine years.
“Ryan taught us many life lessons that we will never forget," said Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Christopher Hoffman. "He's had a lasting impact on each and each one of us.”
At the memorial, which took place at Miller Auditorium, Sgt. Proxmire's co-workers described him as trustworthy and driven. They said he committed himself to helping others and aspired to earn a spot on KCSO's SWAT team.
Sgt. Proxmire previously worked in the corrections department before his service in road patrol. He was a field training officer, taser instructor, and subject control/defensive tactics instructor.
“He was quick to attach himself to any call no matter how in-depth or how mundane," said Sgt. Hoffman. "He was always concerned for his partner's safety and never hesitated to backup an officer no matter how dangerous the situation was. I can only hope that someday I'll be as good as a cop as Ryan was. We should all strive to achieve that quality of law enforcement officers that Ryan was.”
Memorial speakers said family was the only thing Sgt. Proxmire loved more than his career.
Sgt. Proxmire was married for nearly 15 years and a father of four children. He graduated from Three Rivers High School in 1999.
His wife, Roanna, said their relationship grew on the road as truck drivers before they decided to settle in southwest Michigan.
"He would often ask me to go on a ride along with him," said Roanna Proxmire. "I would joke with him that, you know, I can't stay up past 9:48 p.m., but the truth was I couldn't. I wasn't brave enough to go. I didn't want to see what he had to face every night, what all of you have to face every night. I didn't want to be reminded of the bad behavior that gives you guys job security. I wouldn't be able to handle that."
"You have my profound thanks and gratitude," said Roanna Proxmire. "I didn't every worry about him because I had complete faith in his capability. I know he would always follow protocol and he was diligent. He commanded confidence and he held the line so that we could be safe."
Sgt. Proxmire's father, Mark Proxmire, says in addition to his loved ones and his neighbors, his son prioritized his country.
“I’m so very proud of him and what what he has done," said Mark Proxmire.
You can watch the full procession and memorial service below.
You can support Sergeant Proxmire's family by donating through the Collin Rose Memorial Foundation to the "Ryan Proxmire Memorial Fund."
You can also pre-order a T-shirt for $12 through the Forever Strong Memorial Foundation. One hundred percent of proceeds go to the family.