Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 18, 2001

Officer left legacy of duty, kindness

By Dan Nakaso
Advertiser Staff Writer

A lone bagpiper playing "Going Home" led Officer Dannygriggs "Danny" Padayao's casket to a black hearse yesterday, escorted by a police honor guard.

Gigi Macion, sister of fallen police officer Danny Padayao, clutches the flag that draped her brother's casket.

Bruce Asato • The Honolulu Advertiser

Later, at Hawaiian Memorial Park, a sorrel mare plodded ahead of Padayao's casket, a pair of shiny boots dangling backwards in its stirrups, in the classic "fallen rider" procession.

The mournful wail of taps echoed from a cemetery hillside and a helicopter flyby unleashed a cloud of flowers as the Honolulu Police Department yesterday buried one of its own.

Padayao, 46, had been laying flares at the scene of a traffic accident on Kamehameha Highway near Johnson Road on April 30 when he was hit by a suspected drunken driver and knocked into the path of a truck.

Padayao became the 36th Honolulu police officer killed in the line of duty.

Before a mortuary full of Honolulu police officers and representatives from police departments on every island, the Secret Service, the sheriff's department and the Honolulu Fire Department, Padayao was remembered for a wit and a smile that could lighten any mood. He also had compassion that he offered freely to partners on his beat, gang kids and everyday people he met on the street.

His best friend, Sgt. Chris Fulmer, could not bring herself to speak about her feelings yesterday, so Lt. Mark Victor talked about how she called Padayao "the sweetest, most compassionate and kind-hearted man."

Padayao was 5 feet tall and 185 pounds, and Fulmer would constantly pinch his cheek and tell him how cute he was.

Padayao would respond: "Tell me something I don't know. That's why I'm such a chick magnet."

When he was stationed in Kalihi, the other officers wouldn't let Padayao forget his size.

They'd tell him, "Hey, Danny, you must have a sore neck because you always have to look up to us," Victor recalled..

Then, in the next moment, Victor was in tears remembering his friend.

Padayao was dressed in a brown-and-gray aloha shirt and a black University of Hawai'i baseball cap declaring the football team conference champions. Even though he wore civilian clothes, it was impossible to separate Padayao from his 18 years with the police department.

His coffin was draped with the American flag. Diamond Head Mortuary was filled with flowers from the police department and the police officers' union. An arrangement from the Kane'ohe district was designed in the shape of an HPD badge and included Padayao's number, 3236.

Padayao was born in 1955 at Laupahoehoe on the Big Island. He lived in a two-room home that had no running water but eight other other family members. He grew up playing in kiawe forests and swimming along black-sand beaches.

He went to Castle High School, tried a variety of jobs, studied to be an accountant and fell in love with a friend from his high school days, Donna Borengasser. They never married, but in the 23 years they lived together, Padayao raised her three daughters as his own.

Police officers mass to salute the last journey of fellow officer Danny Padayao, killed by a hit-and-run driver April 30.

Bruce Asato • The Honolulu Advertiser

On Nov. 18, 1982, he joined the HPD and found a job that meant he could help people every day.

"Danny Padayao was the kind of police officer we would all like to be — compassionate, courageous, dedicated," said Maj. Susan Dowsett, his last commander. "Danny was special. He was fun to work with and really, really enjoyed being a police officer. Whenever we reach out a helping hand to others, counsel a troubled youth or tell a joke to a beat officer, Danny's spirit will be there."

When the eulogies ended yesterday Bolo Kahawai, an adult correctional officer at O'ahu Community Correctional Center, led eight others from the Public Safety Department in honoring Padayao.

The sheriff's deputies and other adult correctional officers, wearing navy blue berets, starch-white shirts and white gloves, slowly saluted Padayao's casket, then stood at ease with their heads bowed as Kahawai sang a song he wrote.

"Danny, where are you?" Kahawai sang. "Are you in heaven, looking down?"

Five police motorcycles led the funeral procession across O'ahu toward Hawaiian Memorial Park in Kane'ohe as officers along the route saluted.

At the grave site, Police Chaplain Lon Eckdahl committed Padayao's spirit into God's hands with the words "ashes to ashes, dust to dust."

Police Chief Lee Donohue presented Padayao's sister, Gig Macion, with the flag that had covered his casket. In a quiet voice, he offered his thanks "on behalf of a grateful nation and a community." The flag, he said, is a "symbol of our appreciation as a police force for him making the ultimate sacrifice to protect his community."

Dan Quinn blew "Amazing Grace" through the bagpipes. Sgt. David Passmore blew taps

And a sergeant standing three rows back in a line of Honolulu police officers broke from attention just long enough to swipe at a tear.

Dan Nakaso can be reached by phone at 525-8085, or by e-mail at dnakaso@honoluluadvertiser.com

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the floral arrangement in the shape of an HPD badge came from a different police district than Kane'ohe.