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Saying goodbye to a hero

Dep. Randy Hamson laid to rest

Posted: October 30, 2008 5:09 p.m.
Updated: December 31, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Sheriff deputies sit at Grace Baptist Church in Saugus for the late Dep. Randy Hamson's funeral service Thursday morning.

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Family, friends, and more than one hundred uniformed deputies gathered to mourn the death and celebrate the life of Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Deputy Randy Hamson on Friday.

"For over four years, Randy never gave up," a sheriff's commander said at the service held at Grace Baptist Church in Saugus. "His sacrifice to fellow men will never be forgotten."

Hamson died after a four-year struggle to recover from injuries sustained during a 2004 traffic stop. He graduated from the Sheriff's academy just five years prior to his accident and was based at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.

The tone of the service was upbeat as Pastor Francis Chan, Sheriff's officials, deputies, Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar, Hamson's brother, and friends shared fond and humorous memories of Hamson.

"He had a servant's heart," said Tim Hamson, Randy's brother and a Los Angeles city firefighter. "I admire my brother. Randy Hamson is my best friend."

Those who spoke of Hamson attested to the inspiring dedication he carried to his faith, family and duties.

The words passionate, smiling, hard-worker, upbeat, energetic and loving were among many used to describe Hamson.

"Santa Clarita has lost a great friend and we are mourning his lost," Kellar said. "Hamson stood out among us because he made it his life to give us the American Dream."

"We can understand Randy believed God loved him ... the day when Randy was baptized, that's what he was saying," said Chan, who baptized Hamson two years before the accident. "Randy is in a very, very safe place. God says I will create a safe place for you... Randy changed his address, he did not change his life."

The news hit SCV sheriff's deputies hard last Friday, a sheriff's official said.

"I was on duty that night (of the accident)," said sheriff station secretary Millena Hicks, who attended the ceremony. "I took his CHP 180 report just before receiving the call... I was devastated; he was my friend."

Hicks smiled after recalling memories of teasing Hamson for his lack of spelling skills.

"This is a tough situation. We missed him being here the last four years. I know his spirit. He would have wanted to be here," said Lt. Brenda Cambra of the SCV Sheriff's Station.

Hamson was investigating a traffic collision along a poorly lit stretch of Sierra Highway Aug. 16, 2004.

Hamson used his flashlight to grab the attention of a motorist not using headlights, Cambra said. As Hamson waved his flashlight at the car another vehicle struck him, she said.

"Hamson sustained major head injuries and battled for his life every day, from the time he was hospitalized until his death," Cambra said. The battled ended when last week as Hamson's condition worsened, she said.
 
"(Hamson) had the biggest smile in the world," Det. Hans Schneider said. Hamson and Schneider met in 2002 at the SCV Sheriff's Station. It was Hamson's attitude that made him so fun to work with.

"He just brightened your day," Schneider said.

Schneider felt mixed emotions when he learned of Hamson death. "It's been a tough four years for everyone," he said. But he chooses to remembers all that was good about Hamson.

"He was truly enjoyable to work with and he loved working for the people of Santa Clarita," Schneider said.

After the ceremony, a motorcade of sheriff's vehicles escorted the hearse bearing Hamson's body to Eternal Valley Memorial Park on Sierra Highway in Newhall, where he was buried.

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