BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Family and friends of a fallen Bladen County Sheriff's Deputy continue to mourn his loss. But Saturday, folks came from all over to celebrate Dewayne Hester's life by doing something he loved to do.
"Everybody out here as you ride, you can almost feel Dewayne. Your thoughts are running through your mind as you're riding, and you can see all these bikes,” Bradley Tatum said. “You can understand almost that Dewayne is somewhere smiling."
Tatum grew up with Dep. Hester. Hester died when he lost control of his car and hit a tree while responding to a call back in June. Hundreds of community members honored Hester at his funeral; and Saturday, dozens of folks took a ride to raise money for his family. Hester leaves behind his wife Tammie and two young daughters, Haley and Hannah.
"I would say 50 percent of people here are law enforcement from another agency or retired law enforcement,” BCSO Dep. Spencer Bryant, who organized the ride, said. “So that just shows the brotherhood bond that goes with it."
Dep. Bryant worked with Hester both at Elizabethtown Police Department and the Bladen County Sheriff's Office. He said Hester died doing what he loved to do, serve.
"He’d give you the shirt off his back in a heartbeat. If you needed help, he would do it,” Bryant said. “It didn't matter. If he could do it, he would. A heart as good as gold is the only way to explain it."
"He was almost like gravity,” Tatum said. “Everybody just kind of came to him and came around him. He's making a lasting impact on this community for years to come."
Tatum said Hester’s family is holding up well, taking comfort in the fact that he is in a better place.
Hester's wife, daughters, mother and brother all went along for the ride. While they declined to comment on camera, they told us they are so grateful for the community's support and love.