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An example for us all

The hundreds of residents lining Hwy. 51 and Fox Road Thursday were a testament to the impact Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy William Durr had on this world.

They saluted, held their hands over their hearts and waved flags when the funeral procession passed. Many of them waited for hours for the honor of doing so.

Unfortunately, I’ve attended these types of events before. But I’ve never witnessed an outpouring of love and respect like I saw in Lincoln County Thursday.

The sheer number of law enforcement officers in the funeral procession was overwhelming. There were at least 400 of them, from all parts of the state and Louisiana and Alabama.

They came to honor a brother, a man who died protecting others. It had to be a sobering reality for them, knowing that any call they answer could be their last.

Certainly, no one expected Deputy Durr’s call to Bogue Chitto last week to be his last.

The funeral procession route went right past Lee Drive, where the fatal shooting occurred. Many in the Bogue Chitto community who knew Durr or his family also knew the family of the man who is accused of killing him. That alone makes the tragedy that much harder to bear in the small community.

Durr’s funeral procession showed his family — and the country — what sort of man he was. But for those who knew him, it was no surprise.

He was no doubt a lot of things: brave, kind, loving, the list goes on and on. The most important thing he was, was something he didn’t hide. He was a believer in Christ.

Everyone who spoke about Durr talked about his faith.

“He was dedicated,” Sheriff Steve Rushing said. “He loved his work, he loved his family and he loved his God. You knew that just from standing there talking to him. He didn’t have to tell you.”

“He would go to calls,” Rushing said. “And by the time the end of the call he would go to was over he was praying for them right there, with them unashamed, or he was trying to help them on the domestic call, help them with their problems.”

“William had a love for young people. He served various churches in numerous positions. His work with preschoolers, children, youth and college students rendered dividends many will not fathom. Only God Himself knows the true extent of William’s kingdom work. His service to God was not reserved for Sundays alone. Time and again, William would share God’s love to those he encountered while serving as a deputy sheriff or police officer. He would take the time and pray for those in need of God’s love and peace.  His love for others knew no boundaries,” his family said in a statement.

“He was what kept everyone else looking up and thinking positive. He was always witnessing to people and telling them how much he loved the Lord. He wanted people to be close to the Lord,” Kelly Porter said.

Is there a better way to be remembered?

Durr leaves behind a wife and son who now will face life without him. But Durr also leaves behind the greatest example for his son — and for the rest of us.

Publisher Luke Horton can be reached at luke.horton@dailyleader.com.