Weekend Drowning Victim Remembered as Community Protector

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A fishing trip turned tragic on Saturday for a former Brazos County Sheriff's Deputy and College Station Police Officer. Tommy Preston Senior drowned after his canoe capsized on a private lake in Bryan.

“He always thought of others before he thought of himself,” said Senette Preston.

He was a family man and naturally, both Teresa and Senette Preston say their father, Tommy Preston Sr., was always there to protect.

"He was like our superman,” said Teresa Preston.

He spent nearly 20 years protecting the streets of the Brazos Valley at the College Station Police Department and before retiring, the Brazos County Sheriff's Office.

“He was dedicated to protecting people,” said former colleague and College Station Assistant Police Chief, Larry Johnson. “That thing about protecting and serving, it wasn’t a cliché to Tommy; it was the kind of life he lived genuinely. He enjoyed helping people.”

“We could always call him if we ever needed anything, or if we ever had the littlest question about anything,” said Teresa Preston.

But a series of events that took place Saturday afternoon has since changed that forever.

“I know he was terrified when the boat tipped over because he didn't know how to swim," said Teresa.

Sixty-three-year-old Preston Sr. and his nephew went fishing on a private lake in Bryan Saturday afternoon. Somewhere along the way -- the canoe capsized -- sending both underwater. It took rescue crews two hours to locate Preston.

“No one is promised to be on earth forever,” said Senette Preston. “But I always thought my daddy would outlive me.”

The Preston family continues to find strength, but Teresa and Senette both say they've found peace in knowing the man who will always be their hero died doing what he loved doing most.

"He was always with family, but boy he loved to fish," said Senette.

“Sometimes you know, you have to find solace in the fact that he was a man of faith,” said Johnson. “We say that everything happens for a reason, I don’t really know about that, but I do know life happens; and we have to be prepared for that. At the end of the day, people aren’t going to remember how many titles you have, but they will remember your name. And when people talk about Tommy Preston, they’re going to talk about good things.”

The Preston family says funeral arrangements are pending.