Woman says final goodbye to her dying father thanks to Hawkins police officer

The officer made sure that she got to the hospital in time
Updated: Jan. 7, 2021 at 9:23 PM CST
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HAWKINS, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas woman desperate to reach her dying father in a hospital got some surprise help from a law enforcement officer who helped give her the chance to say her last ‘goodbye’.

It was a frantic time for Brenda Hollis of Wood County on Friday night. A phone call had her rushing to the hospital.

“My father had had a stroke, and I just ran out the door, got in the car and took off, and I wasn’t thinking,” she said.

72-year-old Travis Gilbert had suffered a massive stroke, and was not expected to survive.

Needing fuel, Hollis had forgotten her debit card, and gas stations had closed. Then she saw Hawkins Officer Eric Tuma.

“I just pulled up to him, told him my situation, he just said follow me I’ll get you gas,” Hollis says.

“I was moved by that. I didn’t want her to miss out on her father so I had her follow me to the gas station and get some gas,” Tuma says.

“Eric skipped over the protocol for his own safety, and that’s what it is, got her gas to make it to the hospital,” says Hawkins Police Chief Manfred Gilow.

Hollis arrived at the hospital in time to do what any of us would want to do: say her final goodbye.

“I told him I loved him , and he meant the world to me,” she said of the talk with her father.

Minutes later her father died.

Hollis returned to Hawkins to commend Officer Tuma.

“The officer gave me something. Nothing else could have given me that,” Hollis says.

“I could not be more proud to have Eric as an officer in this department,” said Gilow.

“I’ll remember this for the rest of my life,” Tuma said.

Any of us would want that last chance to say goodbye. And for Hollis, Officer Tuma made it possible.

“I’m very grateful to him,” says Brenda.

Hollis will hold funeral services for her father on January 16.

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