Deputy J.D. Paugh was a dedicated law enforcement officer who died over the weekend in the line of duty. (WRDW-TV / Oct. 23, 2011)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012
HARLEM, Ga. -- It was an overwhelming morning as the community gathered at Feathered Friends Forever to honor fallen heroes.
It even left some at a loss for words.
"It's wonderful to realize that so many people thought so much of J.D. and have done so much for him or in his memory," said his mother, Anita Paugh.
Tears streamed in remembrance of the man who gave his life protecting our community. A song written just for him was performed, too.
All the people at the memorial were there for Paugh.
"He loved life, he loved his family, he loved his job, and he loved his motorcycles," his mom said.
You'll remember, Paugh was killed in the line of duty last October.
On Saturday, the community came together to say thank you to him and other fallen heroes.
As a veteran himself, Bob Courtwright understands how important that is.
"We didn't get the welcome home that our soldiers get today, because it was not a popular war, so it was important for us to make sure our soldiers and our first responders get some recognition, and that their family, as Mrs. Paugh pointed out, have a place to remember their son and other sons and loved ones," he said.
Fellow motorcycle riders, Girl Scouts and even the Fort Gordon Color Guard showed their appreciation at the ceremony.
A Fort Gordon sergeant even stood up to say, "I'd like to say thank you to the Paugh family for what your son does for my family."
Where a lonely shovel sticks out of the ground now will soon be a rose bush.
"J.D.'s mom brought a rose that was from the original funeral, and we're going to plant that today in his honor," Courtwright said.
While he wasn't here to see it himself, J.D.'s mom says she knows exactly what he would think.
"First off he'd be embarrassed, but second off he'd love it, and he'd say thank you," she said with a sad smile.
If you'll remember last weekend, the roads at Feathered Friends Forever didn't look so smooth. They said they worked day and night to get them ready for the memorial.
They said they brought in about a hundred tons of gravel to get the job done. They wanted to send a big thank you to the community because 50 of those tons were donated.