March 27, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---He was a husband, a father, and he was only 24 years old.
The Augusta law enforcement family is mourning the loss of a brother.
He was still in his 20's, and he was living his dream. Deputy Mark Sikes' family says he always wanted to be a deputy.
On this day, 400 of the men and women who served alongside Deputy Sikes filed into Warren Baptist Church.
"We'll begin to miss his presence being there every day at roll call," said Sgt. Robbie Silas. "I'm sure it's going to be hard for us."
In less than two years on the force, the young deputy was fast to form bonds of friendship.
"He was very nice," said Deputy Marshal Brian Thomas. "You couldn't have a better friend or deputy to be on the road with."
And as law enforcement joins along with family and friends to offer up a long and somber salute, rest assured this deputy will live on as so much more than just a memory.
As an organ donor, he saved lives with his death, and he'll continue to live through another Richmond County deputy.
For David James who was shot in the line of duty 17 years ago, it means a transplanted kidney, a perfect match from one brother to another. They shared the badge and a bond that will last far beyond today's final salute.
Deputy Sikes leaves behind a wife and a young daughter.