Two hours later, the news erupted with reports that a fellow officer had been shot at a domestic call and was killed. We spent the entire evening, waiting for more information. The faces that had been lit with smiles just a few hours earlier were now drawn and filled with tears. Sheriff Berrong, who gave a beautiful speech at Dave's party, now couldn't speak as he told of the tragedy that had occurred.
My heart breaks for the family of this fallen officers as well as his brothers and sisters in blue. The next few weeks and months will be difficult ones as this community tries to heal from this tragedy. Blount County has always stood behind its first responders. There have been no demonstrations against them, no harsh words for bad behavior. When one of our citizens falls in the line of duty, of protecting our community, we all stand together to help in any way we can. That's one of the big reasons that I've always loved living here in Blount County.
As we prepare for our final months here before heading out on the road to travel full-time, I have only one suggestion. Don't wait for the right time. Don't wait. Tomorrow may not come. This was shown to us yesterday and we will heed the lesson. We'll live our lives in joy and purpose, knowing how fortunate we are.
As we Blount Countians come together to mourn our fallen hero, I would ask that you not only honor his sacrifice, but honor his life by living yours fully. Don't wait until you've paid off the bills. Don't wait until the kids are grown. Don't wait until you've gotten that promotion. If you have a dream, follow it now.
Life is meant to be lived. Live. Don't exist.
Rest in peace, our fallen hero, and fly. You will always be remembered.