Huge crowd turns out to mourn fallen deputy

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Submitted: Thu, 06/14/2012 - 3:47am
Updated: Thu, 06/14/2012 - 5:35pm

BLADENBORO, NC (WWAY) — At least 1,000 people turned out in Bladenboro this afternoon to honor a Bladen County Sheriff’s deputy who died in the line of duty. Dep. Dewayne Hester died when he lost control of his car and hit a tree on the way to a call late Friday night.

This afternoon, people packed the Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Bladenboro for Hester’s funeral. The crowd included law enforcement officers from across the state and South Carolina.

Inside the funeral, where cameras were not allowed, the church’s Family Life Center was packed to the back. People stood, lining the back and side walls.

During the eulogy, Larry Hayes, Hester’s friend and pastor, described the fallen deputy as “a man of great faith and integrity.”

A childhood friend of Deputy Hester, Andrew Munn, said he’s doing his best to cope with the loss.

“It’s very hard. it was shocking to hear he had passed,” Munn said.

The funeral service began with a video of pictures of Hester that told his life, from boyhood to adulthood.

The service closed with a video recording of Hester singing two songs. One of them was called “Going Home,” which describes a life coming to an end but continuing in heaven.

After the funeral, a procession accompanied Hester’s body to a burial in Oak Grove Church Cemetery in Bladen County. His body was carried along the last bit of the route on a horse-drawn caisson with a guard of North Carolina Highway Patrol Troopers.

Munn said Hester would encourage him to smile through the struggle. “He’s in a better place now. He’s above. We can look up there and see his pretty smile. He was always smiling,” Munn said.

Hester, who was three months shy of his 40th birthday, is survived by his wife Tammie and two young daughters, Haley and Hannah.


  • Guestaphonics says:

    I mean no disrepect by this, but why such a funeral show for a sheriff’s deputy? And the deputy sings two songs at his own funeral? This strikes me as a little tastlelss, along with showing the video of his life.

    People die every day here in Bladen County and elsewhere who are far more important to the community than this deputy has been, but they will leave this world with a restrained, quiet, dignified ceremony.

    It’s the extreme brouhaha of this over-the-top ceremony that causes me pause.

  • tweety12 says:

    Mr.Pickey and WWAY job well done to show respect for a local hero.When spend some much time and effort talking about the negative we often forget about the good people in our communities.

  • Deputy of Bladen says:

    Thank you Mr Pickey for your crew to help us show the surrounding counties our lost of a great officer and great friend and most important a family man that loved his family. The WWAY crew were very professional and all times kept their distance, as was requested, and at no time interferred.

  • Guest2222 says:

    The service was what his family chose so have some respect. It has nothing to do with you what you like. When you lose a loved one have the type service you choose. Back off…

  • Jennifer king says:

    Thank you for this coverage. I have known the Hesters since I was 13 years old. Dewayne was a greatgreat person and the fact you all honored him for all to see is wonderful. He deserved it.

  • SC SLED from NC says:

    Deputy Hester died in an attempt to save someone from a serious assault. He went to work each day with the desire to protect YOUR liberty and freedoms. YOUR ability to make such a statement is because of people like Deputy Hester. In the event that you were to make that statement verbally and someone were to take offense to that statement then I am sure that you would want a law enforcement officer to race to your aid.

    The celebration of Deputy Hester’s life and service is not for him nor his co-workers or even the community. The pomp and circumstance honoring Deputy Hester is for his daughters. May they never forget that the most important man in their life, their Daddy, was important to all of those people and that he made a difference to all of them.

    I have worn a badge for many years but my children are young. In the event that I was to pass away today my three year old daughter would have no long term memory of me. I would hope that she and my son would cherish the fact that their Daddy was a good man who gave of himself so that others would benefit, that they could look back years from now on the stories and pictures and video of the tribute that someone paid to me.

    It is my hope and prayer that these children are comforted by this honor that was paid to their Daddy.

  • Linda Darl says:

    Well said NC SLED.

  • Coworker says:

    When a person starts a sentence with”I mean no disrepect by this” disrespect is exactly what they mean. Why not such as show of love for a fallen officer who put his personel life on hold to help someone else solve there own problems and lost his life while trying to assist that person! This is the way that him and his family wanted his funeral. You have no right to critique the way a family puts there own to rest. You’ll have your own one day to critique. May GOD bless you!

  • Grand Ole Party says:

    Jealous huh? Some people are just loved and respected. I am sure that is a foreign concept to you.

  • JCH3012 says:

    I want you to know and everyone that reads this that I’m not concealing my identity. This is Jamie Hester, one proud little brother of one of the greatest men to have ever worked for Bladen County Sheriffs Dept. I’m glad that each of you have posted your true feelings on this link. Dewayne was an honorable man, a man of integrity and one who always believed in the people of Bladen County. Any one that had the chance, or should I say privilege, of knowing my brother would ultimately agree that the respect shown by all parties involved and the departments that handled the funeral was well above and beyond. Dewayne was always about honor and he would thank each of you personally with a handshake and a smile.
    I was a bit taken back by a couple of the comments left on this link, but as Dewayne always told me you’ll always have those few people you can’t please no matter the amount of time tou spend, what you do, or the effort you put forth. I call those people haters, dewayne simply called them people who don’t understand. He never spoke with ill intent about people in general, nor would he ever disrespect someone by leavi g comments about someone’s funeral like “tasteless”. He’d simply go about his way. But there is one distict difference between Dewayne and myself, I speak my mind and for that I’ll never be half the man he was. With that said, who ever left those comments about how Dewayne didn’t deserve all he got…. Look me up and say that to my face. This isn’t a threat as it is more of a promise, I’ll slap the “taste” out of your mouth.
    I’ve prided myself on being like my brother my whole life. He was the best role model and still is for so many. Ask any one, it you needed him he was there and was always someone you could completely count on. He never wavered or strayed from what he thought was right. If I only become half the man, father and friend he was I’ll consider myself a success. Thank you Dewayne and may you RIP.

  • Guest2020 says:

    I don’t care what causes you pause. This was not done for you. This was done by his family for his family. I don’t think anyone will lose any sleep over the fact that you don’t like how this man’s family chose to remember him.

  • guest from bladen says:

    Did you people really attend this funeral to get a news report? I really wish you would have been escorted from the property out of respect for Deputy Hester’s family. Many people were appalled at your presence. Have some respect!!!

  • DITTOS says:

    WOW…really?!..what arrogance. You mean to say this story of a fallen deputy is beyond reporting? I’m appalled at your lack for freedom of speech. There was nothing in this story that was not respectful. Guess we should write this off as no big deal?! I find your post tasteless…guest! Meanwhile, I would like to thank WWAY for recognizing the importance of Dewayne’s life and family, and his contribution to his community and giving us an insight of what he was like and how he was loved by those who knew him.

  • Scott Pickey says:

    Dear Guest from Bladen:

    First I’d like to take the time to thank you for leaving a comment on the site.

    Second, I’d like to apologize to you and your friends if we offended you by attending and covering Deputy Hester’s funeral.

    It was my decision that someone from the station attend the funeral and I asked Cacky to go. I thought it would be a sign of respect both to the family and to the sheriff’s department if one of our main anchors took the time to drive over. Don’t forget, we work with Sheriff Benston and his department on a daily basis. Bottom line, I wanted someone there to represent WWAY.

    We sent nine people to cover the funeral yesterday. That was most of our staff Wednesday and 9 times as many people as WECT sent. Not so we could get some “exclusive” story or create a news story. We did it to celebrate the life of a local hero. We wanted our viewers who either couldn’t attend the funeral, or the thousands of others in the other four counties that watch our newscast, to see the momentous outpouring of love and support for Deputy Hester and his family.

    I think you’ll agree, when the town of Bladenboro’s population doubles, maybe even triples on one day to honor one man, that’s news.


    Scott Pickey
    WWAY News Director

  • Guest32 says:

    Just this past week within my surrounding area, four people have died in car wrecks. Why haven’t I heard the Liberals calling for a BAN ON AUTOMOBILES? Where are all the mothers, Doctors and Victims of car crashes yelling obscenities about, How Bad Cars Are for our Health? Or How irresponsible people handle cars, and because of that, we should ALL not have cars?! Where is the Socialized Government on this??? Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But, the government wants their taxes; people want their independence and freedom, so everyone is acceptable to a million or so deaths per year from automobile deaths and injuries. Which is an acceptable collateral damage – to the government and the people. Then, why isn’t any death, any collateral damage acceptable, when it comes to guns? Especially when the stakes are higher. It’s to protect your home and your physical body. To protect the members of your household. And, to tell your government – enough is enough. I guess you’d rather wait for a civil war to break out and lose it all. Ridiculous, isn’t it?

  • ERIC BRYAN says:

    The angels have a new voice in Heaven.You will be missed and never fotgotten my brother.

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