Officials with the Sherman Police Department helped celebrate the 90th birthday of Maudine Arnold and remember the sacrifice her husband made nearly 50 years ago in the line of duty. Arnold is the widow of Sgt. Donald Clark “D.C.” Arnold, who was killed in the line of duty on Dec. 23, 1969.
D.C. Arnold is the only Sherman Police officer in modern history to die while serving in the line of duty. Samuel Ball, a city marshal, was also killed in Sherman in the 1880s, Sherman Police Chief Zachary Flores said.
“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him,” Maudine Arnold said Saturday of her husband.
As a part of her 90th birthday party, which was attended by nearly 50 friends and family members, the Sherman Police Pipes and Drums band played at Forest Avenue Baptist Church. Flores and other leadership within the department also presented Arnold with a flag that flew over the police station in gratitude for her husband’s service.
“We’ve received correspondence from her daughters in recent months,” Flores said. “The real reason we are here is we don’t ever want to forget the sacrifice that was made.”
In short comments during the birthday party, Flores said that the public has become more aware in recent years of the gravity of the sacrifice that police officers make on a daily basis. However, Arnold learned this lesson firsthand nearly half a century ago, he said.
Arnold said her husband, who served in the Sherman Police Department for 17 years, joined the force after coming home from the Korean War where he served as a military police officer.
Elaine Cloninger said her father was patrolling Sherman in the early hours of Dec. 23, 1969 when he stopped by a Rocket Oil Company gas station near what is now Piner Middle School. Cloninger said her father would routinely check up on the gas station, but that night’s visit was anything but routine.
As her father walked into the gas station, he inadvertently entered during an active robbery, she said.
“As he walked through that door they shot him nine times,” she said.
Following her husband’s death, Arnold did not remarry, and instead raised her children herself.
“She said she always found the one perfect person and didn’t want to spend her life comparing someone to him,” Jane Lyles said of her mother.
For her part, Arnold said she was pleasantly surprised when the department showed up to help her celebrate her birthday. She said she was thankful that a new generation of police officers, who never knew her husband, still remember the service and sacrifice he made for the community.
“I really was surprised by this,” she said. “They really don’t know me that well, and I don’t know them well either.”