MIDLAND COUNTY, TX (KWES) - Police Memorial Week is a week dedicated to recognizing law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty. Many of whom were responding to calls with no idea what they were walking into.
That was the case for one Midland County deputy. The Midland County Sheriff's Office says this deputy made an everlasting impact on the department and they're still remembering him.
"There's not a day that goes by, I don't think about him," said Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter.
Losing their first deputy, Sergeant Mike Naylor was killed on the job in 2014. It was one of the toughest moments the Midland County Sheriff's Office had to face. Until now, it still hasn't been easy.
"You have such a feeling of emptiness, loss. You're just moving in a fog," said Painter. "Every year, it's tough."
On Oct. 9, 2014, Sergeant Naylor and other deputies were serving a warrant on a child sex predator. That was when the shooter opened fire. Just for doing what he loved to do, to protect his community, Naylor was killed.
"His life was going exactly the way he wanted it. Him and his wife were enjoying life with themselves, they had plans, a future," said Painter. "To have that cut short. It's not fair. It's not fair."
A man who loved his work, he was the one who was always there whenever duty calls.
"He was a good guy," said Painter. "I called him on the phone, I said, 'Mike I need some help. I got this deal.' He said, 'Sheriff, I'm glad to take care of it. We're up in Missouri right now on vacation. I said, 'No, no. I'll call somebody else.' He said, 'No, no. I've got it, I'll handle it.' He got on the phone, called, took care of it. On vacation, he'd take care of his job."
Naylor served in the Air Force for 26 years and retired as a Senior Master Sergeant. With a passion for helping others, he founded the sheriff's office Honor Guard and the Crisis Response Team, a unit that helps defendants with mental illnesses.
"To tell you how good he was, the Executive Director of the Texas Commissioner of Law Enforcement came to Midland to take his training under Mike Naylor because he was that good," said Painter. "He just took care of people, he loved people. He was not afraid of a dadgum thing."
Although it's been a few years since Sgt. Naylor's death, the community hasn't stopped remembering him and the legacy he's left behind will still be here to stay.
"We've been very blessed to have him in our mist. We look forward to seeing him again."
The Disabled American Veterans organization will have a PTSD clinic in honor of Sgt. Naylor at the Heroes in Heels conference this Saturday. They said it's to help female veterans struggling with PTSD and to continue Naylor's mission for mental health.