Lt. Mike Williams was the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper of the Year in 1978. He returned to the 42nd annual ceremony to watch as Greg Williams, 43, was named 2010 Trooper of the Year for his lifesaving actions at Lake Texoma.
Mike Williams, 68, choked up as he addressed the audience after his son accepted the honor during an awards luncheon.
“A few years ago I stood where he is,” Mike Williams said as he pointed to his son and other family members standing next to Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael C. Thompson.
“I’m a very proud dad,” he said, holding back tears. “I’m a very proud trooper and ex-trooper. I love you all.”
Greg Williams rescued a man drowning in Lake Texoma in June and then rescued six more people who were stranded in the water after a boat fire in July.
“This is a fantastic honor,” Greg Williams said. “I love my job.”
Williams patrolled highways for 15 years but has been patrolling by boat the past five years.
In June, he was patrolling a party spot called “The Islands” in Lake Texoma and noticed a man trying to swim to boats that had left him behind. The man started sinking below the waves. With help from other boaters, he got the man out of the water and the swimmer was revived.
About a month later, a large boat that had filled up with gasoline on the Texas side of the lake caught fire. Seven people jumped into the water. Some didn’t have life jackets. Greg Williams used his boat to gather everyone floating in the water. Some were 100 yards from the boat.
In 1978, Mike Williams and fellow troopers surrounded two escaped convicts in Caddo.
Three troopers, Houston “Pappy” Summers, 62, Enid, and W.G. “Billy” Young, 50, Woodward, and Pat Grimes, 36, Moore, were killed.
Grimes’ partner, Hoyt Hughes, was wounded.
Escapees Claude Eugene Dennis, 35 and Michael Lancaster, 25, were killed in the shoot-out.
“We got them cornered there in Caddo and had a shoot-out,” Mike Williams said. He then bowed his head and indicated it was time to turn his thoughts to his son’s humanitarian effort.
Capt. Chris West said this is the first time a father and son have both been named Trooper of the Year. The award is sponsored by AAA Oklahoma.
— Story and photo courtesy of The Oklahoman