U.S. flags lined the lawn and hung between two fire trucks outside of a Martinez funeral home Tuesday. The recognition was a tribute to Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputy James M. Wallace, who suffered a fatal heart attack during an annual physical assessment last week.
The afternoon brought together family, friends and more than 50 law enforcement personnel from Richmond and Columbia counties who visited the home to pay their last respects and say final goodbyes.
Visitors shared nods, smiles, handshakes and hugs with one another as Wallace’s family gathered inside the home. Others stood in groups sharing stories of their experience as a law enforcement officer, as some waited to sign a guestbook and greet the family.
“It has been rough,” a deputy said holding back his sadness as he exited the home Tuesday afternoon.
Wallace, who worked the night shift at the Charles B. Webster Detention Center, was a correctional officer at the Augusta State Medical Prison for three years in the 1990s prior to joining the sheriff’s office in November 2010.
In an obituary his family writes “James was a very loving, devoted and caring husband and father. James was a true and loyal friend and always there for anyone who needed a helping hand. James also had a great love and compassion for all animals…James will always be loved and truly missed by his family, friends and co-workers.”