WATAUGA COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Keyzen Buchanan, an up-and-coming emergency responder, traveled about an hour Saturday to pay respect to two fallen deputies.
Outside the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, a memorial is growing for two deputies who had worked there.
There are flowers, candles and notes of support for Sgt. Chris Ward and Deputy Logan Fox who died after they were shot responding to a welfare check near Boone last week.
Fox’s K-9 vehicle is also parked near the memorial.
Throughout Boone, blue ribbons were placed to honor the two deputies.
Buchanan, from Mitchell County, was visiting friends when he wanted to pass on his support to the department.
“I felt like it was important for us to come down here because they gave their lives serving the community and the people in general,” Buchanan said. “They gave their lives for a bigger cause.”
Buchanan said that because he is in emergency services, and his friend is a firefighter, hearing about first responders dying hits him hard.
“This one hit me harder. It hit close to home,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan thanks the deputies and their families for the ultimate sacrifice they made by protecting the community. “Don’t take for granted the people who serve you community, don’t take for granted the people who go out every night and don’t know if they’re necessarily going to make it back home,” he said.
Sgt. Ward, 36, had been a law enforcement officer for eight years. He started at the Beech Mountain Police Department in 2013. He became part of the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office in 2018 and was later promoted to the rank of sergeant.
He leaves behind a wife and two daughters. His family will hold a private service on Friday.
Deputy Fox, 25, was part of the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office before becoming part of the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office two years ago. He was partnered with K-9 Raven.
The bodies of both officers were transported from Winston Salem to a Boone funeral home on Friday in a procession. Community members across the route lined up on bridges and in the streets of towns to show their respect.
“We’ve had people come by every day, almost every hour,” Watauga County Sheriff Len D. Hagaman said. “It’s so very nice of the community. The support from the community, the region, the state, the United States has been fabulous.”
Funeral services will begin at 3 p.m. on May 6 at Appalachian State University’s Holmes Convocation Center in Boone. Doors will open to the public at 1 p.m. All guests will be required to wear face coverings. Face coverings will be provided for those guests who do not bring them.