, Port Arthur, Texas

Port Arthur

April 12, 2014

Longtime lawman memorialized at sub-courthouse

PORT ARTHUR — The dedication ceremony for Martin “Popeye” Holmes Park was delayed by about 15 minutes — although not for a reason the longtime lawman would have minded.

Family, friends and former colleagues at the Port Arthur Sub-courthouse Saturday had to wait for Cody Holmes to arrive from a ceremony of his own — he was promoted to captain in the United States Army.

Before he died in September at age 81, Holmes would frequently ask wife Pat when their son would receive a promotion.

 “He never got to see him promoted, but it happened today, on Popeye’s day,” Pat Holmes said. “I feel like Popeye was there.”

Now Popeye will always be there. A sign bearing his name sits on each side of the reflecting pool at the Port Arthur Sub-courthouse, 525 Lakeshore Drive, and letters spell his name on a pavilion.

Formerly the oldest active peace officer in the State of Texas, Holmes’ career in law enforcement spanned 57 years — all of them in Southeast Texas.

His resume included the Port Arthur Police Department, Griffing Park Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission, Groves Police Department and Bridge City Police Department. Holmes’ illustrious tenure in law enforcement earned him the East Texas Peace Officers Association’s Award of Excellence in 2011.

Daughter Vanessa watched her father wake up every morning and put on his shirt and badge. Keeping him at home, she said, was almost impossible.

“He had so many vacation and sick days because he never wanted to take one,” Vanessa Holmes said. “Even at 81, he was proud to be in law enforcement.”

When Holmes grew too sick to make it to work on his own, Michael “Shane” Sinegal would pick him up at his home and drive him to the sub-courthouse.

“I knew him before I even thought about going into politics, and he treated everyone like they were his family,” Sinegal, Jefferson County Precinct 3 commissioner, said. “It just seemed like a natural idea to name the park after him.”

Sinegal said he hopes to see more people visit the park that overlooks the seawall and ship channel. So, too, does Pat Holmes, who said her husband would have been thrilled by the honor.

“The buttons would have been popping off his shirt, he’d be so proud,” she said. “He loved his community, and today they gave that love back to him.”


Twitter: @ErinnPA

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