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Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Funeral service and procession for Billy Clardy III

Credit: WAAY ABC Huntsville, AL
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Funeral service and procession for Billy Clardy III
Funeral service and procession for Billy Clardy III
Funeral service and procession for Huntsville Police Officer Billy Clardy III

Hpd.

>> coverage you can count on.

Waay31 news starts now.

>> good afternoon every one thanks for joining us for the waay31 special coverage on this solemn day in huntsville, not just huntsville but north alabama as a whole.

I'm dan shaffer and we're broadcasting live in jones valley at mayfair church of christ.

And we're broadcasting the funeral service for billy clardy iii.

Hundreds have joined for the service just inside the sanctuary behind me.

And the day got started about noon today with a viewing for family and friends and really anybody who wanted to stop by from noon until 2:00 to pay respects to officer clardy.

He was shot to death in the line of duty on friday, during a drug enforcement operation.

Officer clardy was almost a 20 year veteran of the hunsville police department and member of the stact and including law enforcement from several agency across north alabama.

He voluntarily put his life beforeories, stepping between us and the bad guys.

And unfortunately on friday paid the ultimate price for that.

His family is gathered here and his family is no stranger to north alabama.

The clardys have been here for generations and in fact, billy clardy iii's father was always a huntsville police officer, billy clardy junior was killed unfortunately back in 1978.

And billy clardy iii, just a young boy of six or seven-years-old when that happened.

Obviously, that must have made an impression because he followed in his father's footsteps to join the hunsville police department as well.

And he worked for several other agencies, limestone county, fayetteville and well known in the area and well respected.

Not just an officer's office, but he was a solid human being and a well respected member of the community.

He not only served the people of huntsville in uniform but he did so out of uniform well.

Sydney martin waay31 is joining me also and you have had a lot of contact with the huntsville police over the years, and tell us more about billy clardy iii.

>> well, dan, i've been talking to the police officers since we got the news of the shooting on friday.

They were out of uniform at home, out of duty.

And they actually got up, put on their uniforms and went up to the hospital and were with the family when they received the news.

The surgeon there at the hospital was not able to save him.

And i tell you, over the past couple of years, i have worked with the huntsville stac unit, enforcement unit and i met billy clardy iii as well and he was an incredible human being.

And i know the officers here are struggling today to keep it together.

And some of them are going to be speak about him and the impact that he left over their nearly 20 year career with them.

And how he left his life too soon.

I know some officers told me recently, his son just joined the albertville police department and how excited and proud he was.

The first person his son told when he got the offer was his dad.

>> all right.

We'll take you inside the sanctuary right now here at mayfair church of christ in jones valley for the funeral service now of huntsville police officer, billy clardy iii.

Father, we ask you that, that you would be with us, beyond words and understanding that you comfort us.

Father, we thank you for your love and comfort for our loss.

We are scared.

We ask for your presence at this service and we lift up, ashley, chase, anna brannon, and keaton.

We lift up all of the guys on the stac team.

And all of the huntsville police officers.

And we ask that you are present and be with us, some way beyond words and beyond our understanding that you comfort us.

Father, we thank you for your love and for your mercy.

We ask you today for your strength.

In jesus name.

Amen.

We have essentially three tasks today.

The first is just to get through today.

And the second is to honor billy clardy iii.

That's probably going to take place when the mayor and the chief talks and the guys from the stac unit talk.

And last thing, offer comfort and perhaps some perspective from scripture.

When it comes to honoring billy clardy iii, and i hate to admit this in this crowd.

My brother is a lawyer.

And he says, there's a latin phrase, called res ipsa loquitor, the thing speaks for itself.

And you want to honor billy, just look around.

The thing speaks for itself.

Look at the big men who shed tears.

Look at the young daughters and love their daddy who did see him as a big robust -- you know how many people can wear a harley davidson t-shirt and spell that out all the way across it?

Right.

Okay.

They saw that guy as a teddy bear, they saw that guy as selfless.

That's the word that came up over and over when i talked to ashley and the children.

Their daddy was selfless.

You know how you learn to trust somebody.

Trust is a measure of selflessness.

And you may not have ever put those two things together, but the people that you know that are selfless, you trust.

And the people that you think are selfish, you don't trust.

And that's why these guys put on body armour and go into the buildings with each other because they are with people who are selfless.

So to honor billy clardy iii, the thing just speaks for itself, this outpulling of the presence of the multiple jurisdictions, friends, family, paramedics, firemen and all of the people that loved and appreciated billy clardy.

I have two things that i need to read.

One was written by hannah.

And it's just a handwritten note that she gave me i told her i would try to read it.

It's your first full day away from home.

I found myself walking into your room just so i could smell you.

Well, dad, you wrote me this while i was at bootcamp.

Little did i know, too, that i would just walk into your room just to smell your scent.

I find myself waiting for you to bust through the back door.

My dad and every police officer is more than just a badge and a number.

They have a name and they have a family.

Well, my family has lost their dad.

My mother has lost her husband.

He will always be our hero and our rock.

Our police family has been our comfort and i will always cherish them.

I just want the world to know now how amazing our dad was and how selfless he was.

I love you so much, dad.

And dad, don't forget, army ain't ready for marines yet!

[laughter] now, i'm told that's what they joked about because she's a marine and he was in the army.

And that's what army stood for.

I did not see that.

She said that.

Okay?

But that's the kind of relationship they had.

They honored each other, joked with each other.

Ashley said, they had only been married 13 years.

And she said, every time they talked about their anniversary, they called it the 43rd anniversary because she said our life was just full.

We lived a full life.

Their motto was, work hard, play hard.

And she said they crammed an old person's life into this young life.

You want to honor somebody, listen to his kids talk about him.

Listen to his wife talk about him.

You will hear them say, hey, dad was selfless.

That's a true honor to a man.

I've got another thing that i'm going to try to read.

And this one, the chief handed to me and said, think somebody should read this today.

And when the chief of police hands you something, then says read this.

And you don't have a choice.

I was seven-years-old the last time i saw you.

I remember hearing your voice on the police scanner that put me to sleep every night.

I also remember the roll call over the radio, the may 3 night when you did not answer.

And then, the knock on the front door confirming what i already knew.

I'm now 39-years-old, proudly serving the huntsville police department as you did.

I take your spirit with me daily from call to call.

Thank you, dad, for the gift of your name and the time i had with you.

You are in my mind everyday.

I love and miss you.

Officer billy clardy iii, hpd march 3, 2011.

You want to talk about how to honor somebody?

Just understand the words that he said to his own father who also died in the line of duty.

You want to honor somebody?

Look at his attitude, what his dad instilled in him.

And he's got a son who is a police officer, daughter who is a marine, and a loving family that said, we're proud of who our dad was, and what our dad was.

In the last thing that i will say, in this first part, about what to do to honor billy, we identfy ourselves with self descriptors.

And in the back of the books i write, lonnie jones, counselor, and police chaplain.

When god talks about himself, god's self descriptor is love.

God is love, for god so loved the world.

We know this, not because -- >> and we're having some technical difficulties.

If you are just joining us, you know hearts are heavy across north alabama as friends, family and fellow law enforcement say goodbye to officer billy clardy iii.

People that knew him best describe him as a big brother, a true friend and a man who always tried to better himself.

As we reported, he was killed in the line of duty last friday.

And today, the heartbroken community of huntsville says final goodbyes and sharing stories about what an amazing co-worker and police officer he was.

And on this cold winter day, police cars from across alabama and even out of state have traveled to the church of christ, and maple hill cemetery, it went along the roads on the way.

And if you were traveling in the area, we want to let you know, expect long delays.

His funeral is being held right now at mayfair church of christ carl t.

Jones drive in jones valley.

I believe the shot is back up.

Let's go back to the funeral in progress.

>> -- the way his children described him, the way his wife talked about him and what god himself said.

Greater love has no man than this, a man that lays down his life for his friends.

>> welcome every one.

As we continue the service and before we have our mayor, police chief and stac come back to the podium here, please, take a second and make sure your electronic devices are turned off so we can give complete respect to this family, and to this officer.

Just a couple of housekeeping things.

At the end of the service, we would like as many huntsville police officers and other agencies with marked units to go ahead of the procession to maple hill cemetery.

Now, officer are to stand at attention by their vehicles, blue lights activated as the procession arrives.

If you would like to be in the procession, it will line up shortly right after the service is over.

Today is a reminder of the dangers that law enforcement faces everyday across the country and in our state.

Hoever, today is a reminder as you can see in this room and soon to be in this procession of our strength.

That strength is what this family, our stac agents, our agency needs right now.

As the chief and mayor will describe in a few minutes, we cannot say enough about the support for this family, and our agency, the phone calls, emails, text messages, social media posts have been absolutely incredible.

The citizens and organizations that have reached out to us, the mayor's office, chief's office and all of the offers to help this family has been overwhelming.

Please be patient to us in response to all of these.

Our goal is to get back to every one in the coming days in order to provide assistance for the clardy family.

Please, continue to to give our stac agents and the family and the community the support.

Continue to reach out to the stac office and share contact information if you have a chance to see them today.

Continue to uplift them to help them with the strength they need to help uplift this family.

Stac agent billy clardy iii was part of the hidta gulf coast states task force.

And he set up a drug buy where a known offender was to drop off a large amount of drugs.

Upon arrival, police officer clardy was immediately shot right on the porch.

And there was a short pursuit with other officers around the perimeter and the defendant was arrested.

Now, he suffered gunshot wounds outside of the scope of his bulletproof vest.

Agent clardy is survived by his wife, five children, and grandchildren.

He's also the son of fallen officer billy clardy ii who was in the line of duty with the huntsville police department 1978.

First and foremost, billy was a beloved son, brother, husband, father, and grandfather.

He was a u.s. army veteran, an exceptional police officer with many career accomplishments.

He started his career working north huntsville as patrol officer and quickly became a community relations officer for several years.

He became a part of the very first hidta and he sacrificed his life for the protection of our city.

Now, i want to turn the service over to huntsville mayor, mayor tommy battle.

>> as mayor of the city of huntsville, in the city of 200,000 people, it's my job to say thank you to the clardy family.

Thank you for 14 years of service.

Thank you for sharing your husband with us, your father, your son, your uncle, and he had many, many statuses.

Thank you for sharing billy with us.

He made a difference.

He was someone who made a difference in our community.

He believed in serve and protect.

Over the past 18 months, we've lost two officers, keith earl and billy clardy and both are great losses to our community, to our state, to our city, and to our police force.

First met billy right after being elected mayor.

I was doing ride-along as with the police department.

And billy was assigned to me my very first ride-along, which was with billy clardy.

Now, i never knew that a car could go from 0 to 60 as quick as it could when billy clardy was driving.

And i met you had that same experience with him a few times.

I didn't know that you had to have a strong neck to have a police officer because of the g's that hit you when your car starts going that fast from 0 to 60.

So, you are sitting there, riding along, and talking, and you have 3-6 hours there, and you every just talking about things going on in the community.

I tell you, during the conversation, billy talked about his family.

He loved his family.

And you can tell that one thing he did -- well, he had a lot of family really -- and he loved every one of them.

But especially his immediate family.

He talked about their accomplishments and what they did, and what happened.

And then he zipped off in o to 60 again.

And then as cro, i remember seeing him at neighborhood meetings, community meetings or east huntsville community meetings and billy would be there.

He would be taking care of people.

He took care of them in such a way, he knew what to serve meant.

He know what to protect meant.

But he really knew the service part of it.

And he took care of that community.

One of the things that he did as a cro, he went out and the cro job is to help the homeless and he made a booklet of each homeless person, picture, contact information.

And i didn't know that they didn't use real names.

They used named like big joe, and kentucky jaw, and you know, he had that book.

And not many people would do that.

But he went out to the camps, had the conversation with the people and got to know them.

Billy believed in service.

As a sergeant, he moved on to the stac unit.

He is going to be somebody truly missed.

And i believe you can tell by looking around the community, he's someone that is supported and you are supported by what he has done.

Looking at the community, we see people lined up who want to do something.

Many people don't know what to do but they want to do something to be part of what billy started.

To chief mcmurray, our command staff, to all of our fellow officers, please know that you are not alone and know that these people right up here and all of the people in here, and the ones watching this want to tell you, you are not alone.

We support the job that you do day to day.

We support the job that you do to serve and protect the community.

Stac unit and we'll be there with you as the city of huntsville, i told you we'll be there until you throw us out.

And then we'll probably come back a few times.

But we want to say to each of you, we're there for the long haul, we're there to be with you.

Because that's what we do.

The citizens of this city surround each of you and each of y'all.

We wrap our arms around you all holding you to comfort you, holding you to show you that we care.

And the people that came down the line today came down to show that we care.

And there's been emails, twitters, facebook posts and from all over the united states, from throughout this state, the united states and from people in every capacity of life.

And all of that is to say that this nation cares.

Out of the dark and the bloom, i call this a dark dreary day, and out of this dark and this gloom, their appears a light.

And the light comes to shine on each of you and each of these officers sitting here.

And that light is shining because it wants to say one thing.

It wants to say, we care.

And we support, and we believe in you.

To the clardys.

Thank you so much.

Thank you for 14 great years.

Thank you for being part of huntsville's family.

Thank you for making us what we are today.

We'll miss billy.

But we'll always be there to support you.

Thank you.

>> thank you, mayor tommy battle.

Sometimes it's good to be chief when you can order lonnie to read something that you don't have the guts to do.

I literally handed that to him out in the hall.

And i had no idea what these two were going to talk about but i want to dovetail on it just a little bit, the few thoughts that i put together.

Forgive me for not reading too much.

I'm not a really good speaker when it comes to reading and tell you about how i feel about something.

I want to speak from the heart and i have a couple of notes here.

Ashley and the entire clardy family, thanks for trusting the hpd family and you gave us a great honor by allowing us to conduct the funeral service for you.

And i can't tell you how much that means.

It means a lot.

This is a great privilege to serve you this way.

Thanks for allowing us into your home and your personal life in this difficult time of the and as the mayor said, we're probably going to be there a while.

We don't give up on our widows like that very often.

We're going to stick with you as long as you can take us.

Our family is definitely yours.

Back on sunday, my two deputy chiefs and i, we took our wives out to visit with you.

And of course, this is all new to us and we were feeling very bad.

After talking to you and you told us about billy and told us how you couldn't have changed him, you wouldn't have changed him and you loved him the way he was.

And he wouldn't have been billy any other way.

I don't know how, but we left that house feeling better than when we got there!

And it was because of you.

You are a strong woman, ashley, thank you for helping us.

Think you are going to pull the whole family through this.

You are doing fine.

The support for the clardy families as mentioned was tremendous, not just our own community, but wow.

What an outpouring nationwide that i am getting, the mayor is getting.

Just the attendance today is a capacity crowd.

And these love offerings that keep rolling in, the emails, social media posts, and most of all, the prayers just keep coming.

Don't stop that.

The other night, after the memorial down at the police building, washington, d.c.

Called my cell phone and that doesn't happen much.

So, i picked it up.

Who is calling me.

It was the director of the fbi, christopher ray and he wanted to give you his condolences, ashley, and the family of the and what an amazing thing.

When i went through the reception line, i had new york city police, chicago police and i said i wasn't going to do this because i know i left some out.

But wow.

Huntsville, alabama, you have made a difference.

Thank you, police.

When law enforcement suffers a loss like this, there's 600,000 officers in this country and we all feel it.

Thank you for the tribute to our fallen brother stac agent and billy clardy iii, my staff and i have been pouring over the personnel file of billy trying to understand, pulling everything out we can about him.

It's amazing how much you forget.

He's been there 14 years with us.

But what a story of paperwork we uncovered.

This trail documents a history of commitment, self sacrifice, as lonnie mentioned, accomplishments and it tells the story of a person driven by integrity, courage, professionalism and knowledge.

The very words on every patch of a huntsville police officer is in his personnel file.

I would like to go over a few of these real quickly because you are going to be amazed as we were, that this person was as humble as he really is.

We had to go collect all of his awards out of supply to pin on his uniform because this was not a guy who wore his uniforms. he didn't wear his awards as a badge of honor.

Instead, he served side by side.

So, you wouldn't know it.

He started over two decades of law enforcement, way back before 1996.

I was talking to ard moor police out in the lobby and they said, we trained him.

And i said, no you didn't.

And they said, yeah, yeah, we brought him up as a reserve officer.

We had him first.

They were taking great pride!

And i didn't know that.

So, ardmore, way to go.

Then he went to the limestone, then he went to fayetteville police department and made sergeant real quickly.

That's the way he is.

He was a servant leader.

Then he went to the military.

What service can you give other than putting your life on the line for this country.

He went overseas in a combat zone and fought for us.

When he came back, we grabbed him up quick at hpd, 47th lateral academy and in 2005, he just started with us.

And listen to what he did in 14 years.

19 certificates of commendation.

Two unit citations with the anticrime unit.

A whole bunch of letters of appreciation that rolled in.

We counted at least eight that were fully documented.

And we found out that he had military service awards that hee were not even aware of.

And some of them were not even in his personnel file.

And we found this out later researching buddies in the navy.

And he had a global war on terrorism service middal, national defense medal, army service ribbon, overseas service ribbon, just to name what we found.

But while he was here at the police department, what a difference this one person made.

He was recognized for the partnership for a drug free community and won an award for the hidta drug task force because of the amount of work that he was performing, the arrests, drug seizures for distinguished and dedicated service.

And that was in october of this year.

That's when he was recognized.

I remember this one like it was yesterday because i was two blocks away when he won a mer toreious service award.

He got into a short car pursuit and turned into a foot pursuit, by himself.

He ran this person down.

And during the fight, billy broke his leg, right below his economy, somewhere around the calf.

And you can just imagine the pain.

I can only tell you that it was one of the worst screams that i ever heard.

He screamed like a girl, broke his leg fighting this person.

But he overcame it.

He was given a mer tore oust service award for his service work.

And that only comes about with duty in extraordinary circumstances.

And our captains don't give those away very often.

Recently, he made exchange club officer of the year for making 178 drug arrests.

Tell me that doesn't make a difference.

We mentioned some units, but did you know that when he started out, he started working for the mobile field force, the incident response team.

He was highly trained in rapid response team and all hazards.

That's voluntary.

Fto, training a lot of the young officers and now the older officers that are sitting here now.

He was trained in ar contraining, arrest and control techniques for the academy.

He did that on his own.

And he was cro, community servant and probably one of the best and if you ask the community watch people, they actually started an award several years ago and they call it the billy clardy annual award.

Now, how often do you get an annual award while you are still alive?

That's billy clardy.

And that award is going to go out now and live forever.

That's our community watch and in appreciation for what he has done for them.

And the anticrime team i can't say the difficult job they do, and in one year, almost a hundred guns taken off the street.

They are out there every evening pro filing the most dangerous people in huntsville.

Not because they are driving -- we'd have to put you all in jail for that.

But for the people carrying the guns and the drugs.

And these are the officers who have the street smarts to get the bad guys off the street.

They are making a difference.

And billy was a big part of that success.

Gulf coast hide sent i am to a interdiction school and he learned more about his job as a stac agent.

And he went to mental illness training and was certified there.

He wanted to do that.

He wanted to know more about mental health, deescalation of skills.

And the mayor mentioned how detailed he was with the homeless.

Well, guess what?

When the gang intel unit needed to find a bad guy, you know who they went to?

Billy.

He had a picture of everybody in huntsville who claimed to be a gang member and he had a picture of their graffiti that was sprayed under a bridge or in somebody's house.

He was the most comprehensive book, four ring binders of silly poorlioid pictures.

And i was a polarroid picture.

And i was one like that and i needed that.

And billy was a meticulous record keeper and what a great asset for the hunsville police department.

And advanced search and seizure classes -- oh, i'm just going to stop.

You know why?

Because if billy was here, he would say, shut up, chief.

Let's get on to something that makes me who i am.

And i know what he would tell me.

He would say, for all of you auburn nation out there, war eagle.

Any auburn fans here that want to say war eagle back to billy?

[cheering] and now they are in the outback bowl, so, way to go billy.

He's the biggest auburn fan you ever seen.

Since friday, the captains all met together, my demand staff, that's the award committee.

And they only meet a couple times a year to do awards.

And they had an emergency session, put a purple heart with a valor on his chest, and for his family.

That's the second highest award you can get in the hunsville police department, period.

Way to go, captains, thank you.

Finally, i wanted to talk to all of the police officers here.

There's a large audience listening to us, this is streaming live, and listening so many of you, and i love every one of you, all of you for showing your concern.

Lonnie was talking about the honor of this job.

Honor is why we do it, guys, love and honor.

That's it.

You can't explain it because you are a cop.

But this is an hon ocial profession -- hornable profession, and even though people in, since vietnam, people trying to remove the honor of a first responder.

It is not a dishonorable job.

This is first responders and you military that fight the wars on foreign soils, god bless you.

You keep those wars from coming over here.

And when we have to fight here, you first responders do it here.

But i want to read you this one short couple of sentences that sums it all up.

It was read to cadets at the naval academy by bill bennett.

It was read, we back in 1997 and has been quoted many times over.

Listen to how he defines honor.

And tell me if this is not billy clardy iii's life.

Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age.

It does so because honor is finally about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost.

In our time, that may seem like social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always, even death itself.

So, the question remains, he says, what is worth defending?

What is worth dying for?

What is worth living for?

You police officers, and you first responders need to keep your head on a swivel.

But you can only do that when you keep your head high.

This is an honorable profession.

There's only two things that you control that nobody can take away from you.

That's your honor and your integrity.

If you give that up, you probably don't need to be a first responder.

But that defines the lack of billy clardy.

Other people first.

He was a man of honor.

And he served our country honorably through the military and selflessly through his local communities, his work, his sacrifice, and yes, even his life now.

He died following in the footsteps of his own father doing exactly what he loved to do the most, serving others and leaving for us an example to follow.

And now, we're all the better for it, for knowing him, loving him.

Thank you, officer billy clardy.

?

Now i grew up down an old dirt road, in a town you wouldn't know ?

?

My pops picked the place up for fifteen hundred bucks back in nineteen sixty-four ?

?

My grandfather was a drinker back in the day ?

He put 'em down, but a war is known to change a man and the whiskey's known to change a man but that's not me ?

>> if you are just joining us, this is special edition of waay31 remembering fallen officer billy clardy iii.

Hearts are certainly heavy all across north alabama today as friends and family members and fellow law enforcement say their goodbye to billy clardy iii.

People that knew him best today described him as a true friend, big brother, and a man who truly always tried to better himself.

As we reported, he was killed in the line of duty last friday.

And this is a heartbroken community of huntsville is saying final goodbyes.

We've heard stories what an amazing co-worker and officer he was.

And we're preparing on this cold winter day for police officers and cars who traveled from all over to mayfair church of christ, along carl t jones, whitesburg drive, and california street.

If you are traveling in that area, expect long delays continuing to the maple leaf cemetery.

And the public viewing is scheduled from noon until 2:00 with a service to follow.

As we have reported, officer clardy leaves behind his wife, five children, and several grandchildren to cherish his memory.

There's a memorial fund set up at redstone federal credit union and if you or anybody that you know wants to make a donation to the wildcat fund, stop -- billy clardy iii you can stop by there and that's going to be in force for 6 months.

The department is going to cover any calls for the huntsville department during the funeral, officers will patrol in the huntsville jurisdiction west of the madison city limits.

And allowing the officers to attend billy clardy's funeral and also, the governor has ordered all flags at half staff in honor of billy clardy iii, and the police.

And now, also, they have offered sympathy and prayers to the huntsville police and the clardy family.

For all of our previous coverage or reporting on the story, go to our web site, web waay31tv.com.

And remember, honoring officer clardy this is a special coverage and we're covering this for billy clardy's procession and time there.

So let's go back to the coverage.

>> thank you, i'm dan shaffer right outside mayfair church of christ in jones valley.

You can see right here, the flag is at half staff inside the sanctuary, the funeral for billy clardy iii.

As we mentioned earlier in the newscast, this family is unfortunately no stranger to tragedy.

Billy clardy junior, his father, was also a huntsville police officer and billy clardy iii was 6 or 7-years-old when his father was killed in the line of duty.

And in fact, the clardy family has been in this area for generations.

And by all accounts, this was not just a fine officer but a very fine human being as well.

He dedicated his life, not just to enforcing the law but also, to helping his community.

Not just through law enforcement but through being a good person.

He was out there helping the homeless and doing all kinds of altruistic things for the community.

Just helping out as best he could.

As you can see, the weather has turned rather cold and gloomy.

It's snowing right now.

And as gloomy as it is, this is a celebration of life going on inside the sanctuary.

Let's take you back inside for the rest of billy clardy's funeral.

[pause] >> thank you, mayor, lonnie, lieutenant, an mayor.

I am tony mcelyea, lieutenant tony mcelyea.

And i not only had the distinct pleasure of being his supervisor for the past year, but i'm honored to have worked alongside billy clardy for the majority of my career.

Not soon after we started hpd, we began working on second shift north together as patrol officers, nearly 15 years ago.

I learned quickly that he had a passion for working drugs and taking drugs off our streets, as i did.

I found myself watching and observing how he did his job and what he did.

Not only what he did but how he did it.

A few years later, when i was selected to become a member of the stac team, and i would go in his office and discuss things with him.

I know that his vast knowledge of the drug offenders in huntsville could assist me.

And his time meant so much to me.

Every one in this room knew that billy could go on and on about the type of cop he was, and boy, was he one of the best.

But one thing that i want to discuss today is the type of man that billy was.

Billy was always someone that lifted every one's spirits as soon as he entered the room.

Anybody that's ever worked in narcotics, knows the countless hours we work, how tired one can get and when these guys came into the friday morning meeting and exhausted for all of the hours they put in that week, he always found a way to make everybody laugh.

Instantly, we forget about all of the hours that he had -- that we had worked and just how tired we were.

And one of the things that i'm going to miss the most are the mongs at the stac office.

And mornings at the stac office.

And he always tried to go around and give fist bump, i knew they were tired and give them the fist bump and let them know that i was there for them.

I found myself sitting in my office every morning, looking forward to billy getting to the office.

When he got to the office, i knew as soon as i walked in, turning the corner, i gave him a fist bump.

He would always say, whaz up, lt.

It made me smile and it got my day started off right every single day.

That, i can tell you is most definitely going to be missed.

Billy was also the model after great husband, son, father, and friend.

To his beautiful wife ashley, and his wonderful beautiful family and children, katie, anna, kate, keaton, brandon and chase.

I hope you truly know how much he loved you.

I know we borrowed him for many hours every week.

And sometimes it seemed like you only saw him in passing.

But for this, i can guarantee you this, and i want you to rest assured, at some point everyday he mentioned you, talked about you all the time.

Billy w was very proud of his family and everybody around him, they knew that.

Now that he's gone, i hope that each of you know that you have a family in us forever.

In the coming days, months, and years, we're going to be right by your side any time that you need us.

Billy had our back for years, and i can tell you this, now it's our turn to have yours.

Last thing that i want to discuss is something that ashley told me on sunday morning.

Ashley, who is undoubtedly one of the strongest women i have ever met.

She explained to us where she got her strength from.

He said that over the years, billy prepared her for this very moment.

Billy told her what she needed to do if this time ever came.

She said that he was almost preparing her for this exact time.

She also told us that she is so thankful that our guys were by his side in his last moments because that is exactly where he wanted to be.

Ashley, i know that must be have been hard to say but i want you to know how much that meant to everybody standing behind me, including myself, on sunday morning.

Thank you so much for sharing that from the bottom of our hearts.

To ashley, and to the rest of his beautiful family, we love you.

We're here to pick up right where he left off.

Because that's exactly what he would have done for us.

Thank you.

>> good afternoon, y'all try to bear with me.

I am blake dean and i've had the honor and privilege to working with billy clardy on the stac unit in the last year.

I always knew his good reputation as a police officer but i never really knew him until i came to stac.

And i was glad to have known him and over the course of the last two months, billy and i were together non stop and not at home very much.

So, i learned a lot about billy clardy then.

And first of all, i learned that billy clardy had a relationship with jared kushner and he was a man of high morals.

And i know that he loved his wife ashley, he was a family man, and his kids were his world.

I know that because he told me.

I know that because of the countless stories that he shared with me.

I know that because of the countless pictures that he shared with me.

Billy was a true cops cop.

He's the guy that you wanted with you if you were in a fight.

He was the guy that both new police officers and seasoned supervisors to go to for advice.

Billy was always looking for excitement.

He would call me almost nightly and say, coach, let's get a pursuit going.

His idea of policing was not coming to work, finding a parking spot and answering his calls.

Billy, like most of us, had been in trouble for minor things in this department.

He never used that as an excuse not to work.

He was here to do his job, a job that he loved.

And a job that he told me numerous times that he told me he would do for free.

More than that, he was here to take care of his fellow police officers.

Over the past year and a half, billy has become an invaluable member of the stac unit and there's a void that will never be filled.

Billy was our best ram guy, knocking down wooden doors and storm doors with one motion.

And he made countless drug arrests and saved countless lives.

He was the most dependable guy in our unit.

He was there no matter what time of day or night it was.

He was our comedian.

He always knew how to lighten the mood.

And some days, billy may show up to work wearing stone washed skinny jeans, air force 1's ant a flat bill hat.

And other days, he showed up wearing wranglers and cowboy boots.

Billy made all of our lives better and more fun.

I'll end with this.

I talked with ashley out in the hall in the hospital friday night.

And she told me that billy looked up to me and i was number one.

Billy had that completely twisted.

I looked up to billy and he was my hero and always will be the hero to these guy down here.

And we need more billy clardys in this world.

>> good afternoon.

My name is tommy morris junior.

I got some stuff writ down, guys.

But i don't think i'm going to read much of it.

I met billy 10 years ago when i was community relations officer.

I needed help from patrol about the homeless.

And they said, get with billy.

So, i said, okay.

I go get with billy.

And billy has got a book of every homeless guy in huntsville.

He said, mozz mo mow mow, and it nobody call me mow mow but billy.

And he said, mow mow i got a book of all of the gang members also, too.

And i thought, this kid is sharp.

And when the community religions officer came open, my first word was, i want billy.

So, we became partners.

And our friendship rolled right into it.

We became very good friends.

I got to meet his friends, ashley and the kids.

An everything that we had going on, billy made sure that ashley and the kids were involved.

Billy was one of the most hardest working people i ever met.

I've been with this department right at 25 years.

And he was always, always there.

He had no problem with being there, whether he just went to bed at 4:00.

And i could call him and say, billy, i got this guy i've been watching and i need you at 7:30 in the morning.

And he said, moe moe, i'll be there.

And he was such a hard worker.

When we were community relation officers together, that he had this idea of decorating the precinct for halloween and i said, oh, what we going to do with that.

And he had this great idea of documenting this and we put up all kind of scary things for the kids.

And it was just magnificent and i said, billy i'm so glad you are my partner!

I remember to this day, he called me and he said, moe moe, i'm thinking about putting in for stac.

And i said, are you sure you want to do that?

Okay.

And i said if you want to do that, i'll make sure you get in.

But, but is it okay with ashley.

And you know him being a man and all, oh, yeah, oh yeah.

And i said, no billy, talk to ashley because i know who runs the show.

[laughter] and he called me back and he said, ashley said i can do it.

And when we had the vote, somebody has to be voted into stac.

And i said, billy is the number one guy to gel with the unit.

And all of these guys would say he was the number one guy to gel with the unit.

Billy was an awesome officer, he didn't mind working hard and he was so selfless.

And we are going to miss him very, very much.

Thank you, ashley.

>> if you are just joining us, this is a special waay31 broadcast taking time to honor fallen officer, billy clardy iii.

Woo we've been bringing you live coverage to honor him of the funeral service.

Today, we've heard from people who knew him best, being described as a true friend, big brother, a man who always tried to better himself.

The lieutenant earlier described him as a hard worker and the type of person that people loved to be around.

As we have reported, he was killed in the line of duty last week while responding to a drug bust operation.

Today, we learned that his father was an officer and also killed in the line of duty as well back in 1978.

We heard from blake dean, a good friend of clardy's and said that he loved his wife ashley dearly and often ebb joyed sharing pictures of his family.

They also told us he was a man of god.

Let's go back out to the service.

>> thank, dan shaffer reporting live here from the mayfair church of christ in jones valley where the service is just about to wrap up, we understand.

Our sydney martin is in there and she's going to have report for us when she comes back out.

And it's not just a memorial service but a celebration of life for wildcat.

He had a big impact in the community, not just with law enforcement but as a human being.

It was always his idea to help, not just people who needed help because he was a police officer baut the community as a whole.

And you know, that's what they are celebrating and we'll go back inside the sanctuary to wrap up this funeral for billy clardy iii.

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She stands up for the innocent and the weak ?

I'm laying down my gun ?

Hanging up my boots ?

Tell dad, i don't regret that i've followed in his shoes ?

>> and if you are just joining us, this is the special waay31 honoring fallen officer, billy clardy iii.

And you are seeing that the police officers are starting to arrive at the funeral service today for his honor.

And they have described what an amazing man he is, a loving father of five children with several grandchildren as well.

And as we reported, he was killed in the line of duty just last friday.

And this is a special tribute to him, all day long.

Also, we've learned from people that knew him best just how much he adored his family.

They say he was a man of god and concluded by saying, we need more of billy clardys in the world.

And we heard from a good friend, tommy morris, 25 year veteran, friends for 10 years, partners, and he described him as an incredibly hard worker and spoke about getting the call one day when billy clardy said he wanted to join that special drug task force.

And his partner said you better check with his wife ashley because we know who is in charge.

And she supported him in his decision.

He was described as an incredibly hard worker.

And we're seeing the officers gathering at the funeral this afternoon.

And we expect to see shortly, police cars all across alabama and traveling from the mayfair church of christ to the maple hill cemetery.

And this route is going to go along carl t.

Jones drive, arp road, whitesburg drive, california street.

And here is a live look inside the funeral service that we just listened to.

And if you are traveling in the area, expect long delays.

His funeral will be held at mayfair church of christ on carl t.

Jones and you can see the auditorium just filled with hundreds of people paying tribute and honoring him.

Let's listen into the service right now.

>> this man was so loved and he was one that loved much.

We want to get through these three tasks.

And we want to get through this for billy, he loved.

And you know, we can't take away the pain, hurt, or take away the burden.

It's something that we learn to crawl with, and then we'll learn to walk with it.

And some days, we'll be able to run a little bit.

I can't give you any comfort.

But what's better than come forth is courage.

Courage is not being afraid.

And if you are not afraid, you just ain't done much.

But courage is the ability to step forward and do the next thing even when you are afraid.

And i just need to offer two perspectives from a theological viewpoint.

Number one, why.

It wasn't billy's time.

God doesn't kill police officers because of some cosmic purpose.

That's the work of somebody else.

Romans 8:28, bible passage that says, we know, not we think guess nor hope, but we know all things work together for the good of them that love the lord and are called according to his purpose.

That doesn't teach that god does these things and moves us around like little chess pieces.

What it teaches is that we live in a world controlled by physics and corrupted by evil.

And when those things happen, god can make sense of the senseless.

But god didn't do this to your dad.

Okay?

The devil did this to this planet.

I discovered my understanding of romans 8:28 with a magic marker.

And i was not sniffing the fumes!

I played a game with my daughter when she was growing up called the scribble game.

I'm a cartoonist.

And i paid for my books in college by drawing pictures.

So, she drew pictures, scribbled and i would turn them into pictures.

And we played it one night at macaroni grill in nashville with a bunch of folks.

And several months later, the people that were at the grille with us we were at their house.

And she said, last weekend, our nabz son got sick neighbor's son got sick and we kept their daughter.

And then she took a red magic mark and had written some kind of hieroglyphics in the bedroom they let her stay with them.

And she said, would you like to play the scribble game with her in our book?

And if you ever do your book, then we'll have original lonnie jones.

And so she let me go in the bedroom and draw pictures out of it.

Tthe little girl had drawn an almost perfectly straight and put a jedi knight on that standing on a mushroom.

And then, you know, here's my wall and sometimes i get marks on my wall because i don't do smart things.

I'm human and i'm flawed.

Sometimes i get marks on my wall because somebody who is evil takes a slap at my wall.

Sometimes i get marks on my wall just because i live in a world where marks get, walls get marks on them.

I stand here looking at the mess.

And romans 8:28, that says hay, give me your marker.

When i hand my marker to god, he makes sense of it.

He's not a cartoonist.

He paints sunsets and snowscapes and rainbows, and ocean floors and the milky way at night.

So, if i can offer you some courage, understand that this thing didn't have a purpose.

And this thing wasn't caused by god.

But if you give your marker to god, god can make it make sense.

And that's one part of courage.

The second part of courage comes from this verse in 2 corinthians.

Paul is an apostle writing to a bunch of people that live in a city called corinth.

And he writes these words, 2 corinthians 16, doesn't mean we don't hurt, not scared, doesn't mean we're not mad, but so that we don't get discouraged, we do not lose heart even though the outward man is perishing, the inward man is being renewed day by day for our light affliction, which is just for a moment is working for us a more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

And we do not focus on the things which are seen but the things which are not seen.

The things which are seen are temporary.

And the things that are not seen are eternal.

And we know that if our earthly house, this tent, and that's the way the bible always describes this stuff, as a tent.

It's not permanent.

It's insubstantial, weak, and it's temporary.

If this tent is destroyed, we have a building from god, a house not made with hands.

For we who are in the tent grown being burdened because we do not want to be unclothed, but further clothed that mortality may be swallowed up for life.

And god has prepared us for this by giving us his son in the spirit as guarantee.

What that teaches, as you can look at life in three perspectives.

Look at the external.

And that's stuff.

And you can look at the internal, and that's the eternal.

See, when billy died, he did not become a spirit.

He's always been a spirit.

It was just in this box, just in this tent.

And what the bible teaches, to give us courage for days like this is that we don't focus on the external but we focus on the internal because the internal is what is eternal.

It's lasting forever.

It's the idea that -- well.

When my daughter was little, her hamster died.

I got a certificate from the american academy of bereavement.

I'm trained in trauma and have masters degree in psychology.

You know what good that does you when the hamster died?

And we talked about the dumb hamster, sat on the bed.

And said, sweetheart, everything that lives dies.

Hamsters don't live as long as dogs.

And dogs don't live as long as people.

And people don't live as long as trees.

Everything that lives dies.

Then i read this verse and i had to call my daughter back.

And i had to tell her, honey, the bible says that mortality is swallowed up by life.

Did you hear that?

See, we think that being mortal versus being immortal is thatim mortals don't die.

But the bible tells us that mortality, this stuff is swallowed up by life.

And the courage that we take away today is not that everything lives dies, but everything that dies lives.

And that's a promise from god.

I'm not a good enough theologian or deep enough person to tell you what happens in the after life.

I don't know if the spirit stays inanimate until the resurrection, i don't know if we go to the place of waiting called paradise.

I don't know where billy is, but i know that billy is.

That's courage.

See, the sun is not brighter at midnight at midnight or noon.

The sun is brightest all the time wherever it is.

It is not hotter in january or hotter in july.

It's the tilt of the earth and the direct versus indirect rays.

So, billy is just as bright and just as warm and loves you just as much right now as he ever has.

And he will continue to do so.

In order for us to get through today, we've got to believe that he is.

King david's son was sick.

And king david laid on the floor and he wouldn't eat.

And he saw his servants talking and he said, what's the matter.

And they said, the son is dead.

And he combed his beard, washed his hair and he began to eat food.

And they said, what, what, when your son was sick, you laid on the floor and couldn't eat.

And -- and david said, when he was suffering, i hoped he would get better.

But now that he is gone, he can't come to me.

But i shall go to him.

Billy is waiting on us.

He's eternal, immortal, and he doesn't have a soul.

He is a soul.

And if i can offer you any courage today to get through this is that we have to rely on the promise, rely on the belief -- not the belief but rely on the knowledge that we live forever.

And it's just a temporary separation.

We'll be with him again, all of us who loved him and all of us he loved back.

God bless you and may you rest in his hope, care, mercy, and may god use us as his ministers to minister to you.

God bless you all.

>> that concludes the service and we ask you at this time, as many volunteer hpd personnel as possible, go ahead and exit the building and begin making your way to maple hill.

We have tasks force officers there to assist you with the parking.

So, if the rest of you would just remain in the building, you don't have to stay seated, stand and stretch.

So, officers, when you arrive, stand at attention and run blue lights and all of the other cars will arrive.

All other cars, begin lining up in the procession shortly.

Be sure that we do have some volunteers that leave now.

If you have interop 1 on the radio, c-7, it's for hpd.

Turn to that frequency for further instructions that may be provided.

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>> you have been watching special live coverage from waay31 in huntsville of the fallen police officer, billy clardy iii.

And this funeral just ended here at mayfair church of christ on carl t.

Jonesment you are beginning to see people exiting the sanctuary.

He was shot and killed in the line of duty and we heard from people that knew him best, people that worked with him.

And members of the city administration.

In fact mayor ta tommy battles spoke about him.

And he mention that had people always wanted to be part of whatever clardy started.

And clardy was a pillar in the community and many of us didn't

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