Funeral services for Fresno Police officer Phia Vang began Friday morning, around two and a half weeks after he died in a car accident on Highway 180. A driver going the wrong way on the highway crashed into Vang, while he was on his way home.
Keeping with Hmong traditions, Vang’s services will be three days long at the Fresno Convention Center. Those attending the service are being quick to describe the services as a celebration — because they want Vang to be remembered only for the great things he did.
Vang’s oldest son, Corey Vang, admired his dad for his ability to lead. Also, for his dad’s outlook on life.
“He’s a great mentor. He loved the community and he’s just like any ordinary person. He lived out his life the way he wanted to,” Corey Vang said. “He was a great dad and he definitely taught me a lot about life.”
Friday’s service began with a procession from Selma to the Fresno Convention Center. The prayers and songs were met with many tears from the crowd, but despite all of the sadness, there was a sense of joy. This is because everyone celebrated Vang’s impact on his communities, especially as a 26-year veteran with Fresno Police.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer highlighted a lot of Vang’s career when he took the podium. He made sure to note Vang was the third Hmong police officer to swear-in to protect the city.
Dyer then again shared his condolences, as well as his thanks, to Vang’s family — for their support and love for one of his officers.
“Although it is the officer that wears the badge, it is the family that carries the weight of that badge,” Dyer said. “To Phia’s family, thank you for carrying the weight of that badge for the past 26 years.”
The family encourages the public to visit any time during the weekend. Doors will be open on Friday until 10:30 p.m., reopening on Saturday at 8 a.m. Doors close on Saturday again at 10:30 p.m.
On Sunday starting at 9:30 a.m., there will be a eulogy by Corey Vang — as well as speeches by a number of dignitaries including city and Congressional leaders — before Vang’s casket is escorted to Fresno Memorial Garden Cemetery.