Editor's note: This story has been updated with information on Vincent Castellanos' funeral.
The Sherman Police Department lost an officer on Christmas. Vincent Castellanos, 36, died of stage four colon cancer on Monday.
Sherman Police Chief Zachary Flores held a press conference Tuesday about the department’s loss. Flores said that Castellanos knew that this Christmas would probably be his last so he tried to make it a memorable one.
“He wanted to be with his children,” Flores said. “He wanted this year to be special to his family so we helped him put lights on his house and do some other things for them.”
Castellanos had been with the department since November of 2015.
“Vincent was a dedicated man,” Flores said. “He enjoyed his military career. He was professional. He was a good example to all. He was a big family man as well.”
Castellanos was diagnosed with cancer less than six months after he completed the Sherman Police Department’s Field Training Program in 2016. Since that time, the department has put its support behind Castellanos in the form of benefits.
“He is one of us, he’s a brother — an officer and we share a badge in common,” Sherman Police Lt. D.M. Hampton said in 2016. “We also realize the situation he’s in could be any one of us. We support our own and we’re happy to do this for him and his family.”
A license to carry class and a workout competition took place in Sherman in December of 2016, and all funds went to Castellanos and his family. Also in 2016, 903 Brewers hosted a benefit for Castellanos and raised more than $8,000, according to its Facebook page. The 2016 fundraisers provided the Castellanos family more than $10,000.
“The city has lost a friend and a servant,” Flores said. “He was a private man, but there was an understanding that we could help him throughout this time.”
In 2017, the department held fundraisers throughout the year.
“Around Christmas we helped him raise funds for toys,” Flores said. “We also helped with different fundraisers throughout the year.”
Flores did not give specifics on how much money was raised in 2017 for the family, but said the department will continue having fundraisers to help the Castellanos family with funeral arrangements and other expenses. Specifics about fundraisers, Flores said, will be given at another time. A GoFundMe page has been established for the Castellanos family at https://www.gofundme.com/NFS4Vinnie.
Castellanos was a former infantry officer for the U.S. Army as well as a former force multiplier for the U.S. Army Rangers.
“He’s a true warrior; he’s a combat veteran,” Hampton said. “He served his country and put on a uniform to serve his community. We want to support him and his family during this time.”
Castellanos was originally from Merced, California, and is survived by a wife and four children.
A funeral service will be held for Castellanos on Saturday at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Sherman and internment will be at Cross Roads Cemetery in Desert, Texas.