The greatest example of love is service to others.
An act of service is a special thing. It goes beyond just the act itself and dives deep into the hearts of those being served. From there, it impacts not only their day, but their life. It might give a person hope that good exists in a dark world. It might give them a reason to try again when they have been beaten down repeatedly. A simple act of service could lead to a surge of change spanning generations. But it takes a special heart to lead this life of service and love—a heart of gold. One such man not only served those he loved, but his golden heart was so pure and grand that his love and service extended to friends, community members, coworkers, and even strangers. Arnulfo Pargas, Jr., who was known to everyone as “Arnie,” was a man whose heart has impacted the hearts of countless people throughout his life. His life of love and service has left an impression that can never be removed or forgotten.
On Friday, May 9, 1969, a little boy was born to his delighted mother and family. From the beginning, Arnie began a life of service and love. He did so much to assist his single mother and help his family as he grew up. Around the age of 7 or 8, Arnie lived in Zacatecas, Mexico, but his life changed when his family moved to Dallas, Texas. It was in Dallas that Arnie came to know a sweet neighborhood girl named, Toni. When Arnie was 17 and Toni was 14, they began a relationship that would last 35 years. Arnie graduated from North Dallas High School and began going to college. However, after a while he decided to work full time to provide for his family. He worked at Target as a loss prevention specialist. While working at Target, he met many different people including police officers that worked there as a second job. One day, a police chief (and Arnie’s future sergeant), told Arnie that he ought to re-enroll in school and become a police officer. With his encouragement and Arnie’s own desire to serve, he worked hard to become a police officer. Nothing made Arnie more proud to graduate from his police academy on November 16, 2001 –that was until Arnie became the proud husband of his beloved wife, Toni the next day on November 17, 2001. Dressed in his formal police uniform, Arnie pledged to devote his heart, life, and service to his wife, and each and every day, he fulfilled his vow. Not only was Arnie a proud husband to a wonderful wife, but he was also the joyful father of his 6 children: Anthony, Steven, Alyssa, Valarie, Mark, and Alex. As a father, Arnie strove to give his children something he never had growing up—a constant father figure. He dove into his children’s lives as he instilled in them values, disciplines, and character. He would always tell his children bits of wisdom like:
“Never forget where you came from.”
“Always stay humble.”
“Treat others the way you would want to be treated.”
“Good things happen to those who wait,” and
“Look, listen, and learn.”
Arnie’s patriarchal impact extended beyond that of his own children to his children’s friends who always came by to visit. “Mi casa es su casa,” he would always tell them, and it was true. He always made sure that any child who came into his house had a full stomach, a good time, and a feeling like they belonged. Arnie even took in one of his son’s friends when he was kicked out of his house during his senior year of high school. Arnie’s gift of hospitality was incredible, and it touch the hearts and lives of all it served.
Arnie’s serving heart was not limited to his home. Through the Dallas Police Department, Arnie participated in many events that made an impact on the community. He often participated in Turkey Drives and other food drives for people in his patrol area of West Dallas. He loved to help others, and seeing the smiles on others’ faces made the extra time and effort more than worth it. Another program he loved participating in was the Santa Cops program where he would take gifts to struggling families in his patrol car. He might not have had the sleigh and reindeer, but Arnie’s joyous spirit and warm heart made him the perfect Santa Cop. Arnie was always giving back to his community in one way or another. Through his job as a Senior Corporal to the Dallas Police Department, he helped make neighborhoods safe throughout West Dallas. He was quick to settle disputes and be the comforting hand people needed when they were worried or scared. To his last days, he strove to help, love, and serve others with all of his heart.
If acts of love or service could have made Arnie stay with his family, Arnie would never left this world. However, on Thursday, September 23, 2021, SR CORP Arnie Pargas passed away from a long battle with COVID-19. True to his strong heart and devoted spirit and perhaps stubborn nature, throughout Arnie’s battle with COVID-19, he continued to surprise doctors, nurses, and his family. When medical personnel said that Arnie wouldn’t wake again, he would surprise them by suddenly enjoying some music with his brother. When his commanding officer came to comfort the family, he told Arnie to wake up which he did. His commanding officer grinned as he commended Arnie for still being able to follow orders in his condition. Arnie laughed along. But perhaps the truest testament of devotion to his family and the depths of his love was how he woke each time when doctors’ said he would never wake. “My wife, my wife, my wife…,” Arnie would keep asking as he woke. Despite being in a hospital, fighting for his life, Arnie still was more concerned about his wife and longed for her company and presence. Arnie’s whole life, from his first days to his last days, was a true example of how the love and devotion of one man can impact so many lives for the absolute best.
Arnie was most passionate about helping his family and others, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have other passions as well. Sports was a big deal for Arnie and his family. While Arnie usually unified his household with his life lessons and character, sports was the one area where his family usually stood divided. For years and years, Arnie was a huge fan of the New York Yankee’s baseball team, so naturally his children were only Texas Ranger’s fans. Anytime the two teams played each other, there was always the guaranteed bickering and friendly squabbles that arose. Another case of “a house divided” was Arnie’s love for the San Antonio Spurs. While most people in the family would cheer on the Dallas’s basketball home team, the Dallas Mavericks, Arnie rooted for the Spurs. There was only one area of sports that the whole family could agree on and that was the Dallas Cowboys. Arnie and his family would often watch Dallas Cowboy games all together as they ate, talked, and rallied for their favorite football team. Although his children didn’t agree with most of his sport teams, Arnie had a few loyal grandchildren that followed his love of the Yankees and the Spurs. Not only would he bond with his grandkids over games, but he would also join them in games of catch out in the front yard or taking them out to the baseball field to hit a few baseballs around. And just as his grandkids could always expect their grandpa or “Grandpa Police” to cheer for the Yankees, they could also always expect him to spoil them with a secret stash of candy, chips, or sodas. However, just because they were spoiled by their grandpa didn’t mean Grandpa Police let them get away with murder (police pun definitely intended). Arnie still strove to instill the same disciplines and values that he taught his own children into is grandchildren. Each lesson and wise remark was like him telling his grandchildren, “I love and treasure you!” and Arnie treasured each person in his family.
Another passion Arnie followed was his love of travelling. However, unlike most people who try to visit as many places as they can, Arnie fell in love with one particular place and kept taking his family back over and over again. With the rich culture, delicious food, great shops, and his beloved Spurs, Arnie relished his trips to San Antonio. It was a place where he could celebrate his heritage with his family in spectacular ways. The closeness to home was also a great benefit. However, Arnie did venture on an exciting trip not too long ago with his whole family. For one of his son’s wedding, the whole family went to Cancun, Mexico to enjoy love and new life in the sun and sand. Arnie had a blast in Cancun, but he enjoyed making memories with his family the most and just being there with them during that special time. No matter where Arnie was, whether in Cancun or San Antonio, as long as he was with his family, he was home.
Amongst all of Arnie’s passions and characteristics, he was a man that was defined by his love for others through his willingness to serve. As a police officer, he served his community and his beloved city of Dallas. If needed he was willing to put his life on the line for others. As a father, he was there to support his family financially, but also emotionally. Even when work caused him to miss games, holidays, or other events, Arnie’s children knew they had a father who loved them and was dependable. As a husband, Arnie strove to provide love, security, and joy to his wife day in and day out. Through being with each other for 35 years and married for 20 of those years, Arnie and Toni built a life they loved with the one they loved. Arnie’s love and willingness to serve has impacted so many lives and his legacy will not be forgotten; rather it lives on and grows in the lives of his community, his coworkers, his friends, his extended family, his grandchildren, his children, and his wife. For generations to come, Arnie’s service will touch more and more lives through others until his family at last reunite with him in Heaven where Arnie will greet them with a big hug and exclaim, “Mi casa es su casa.”
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