Dozens of flowers and mementos cover the windshield of fallen Baldwin County Deputy Bill Smith’s beach cruiser Friday morning, as his friends break down his makeshift memorial site off Highway 59 in Robertsdale.
Those close to him say this is just a small glimpse of how many lives he touched over the course of his 40 plus year career.
“You’re talking almost 42-43 years of public service, which is huge. I mean, Bill started as a firefighter when he was 15 years old. And so, not only the impact of the employees, but how many people he meet, touched through his every day workings over those 40 plus years,” said Baldwin County Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack.
Sheriff Mack says they are expecting close to one thousand people to attend tomorrow’s funeral.
Not counting the hundreds more expected to line the streets during the procession following, where the public is invited to line Highway 59 from Robertsdale High School to Central Baldwin Middle School to pay their final respects.
Mack says while this is just the start of the grieving process for his department and Smith’s family, the expected turnout and admiration coming from friends, colleagues, and even total strangers has touched them all more than anyone knows.
“There has just been an outpouring of support for Bill’s wife and sons. They are just simply amazed, and its amazing, unfortunately, a lot of times, it takes the passing of someone to really get to know who they were, and understand,” said Mack.
Visitation for Deputy Smith is set to start at 12:30 pm Saturday with the service following at 2 pm.
Directly following at 4 pm, there will be a procession where folks are invited to line Highway 59 North from Robertsdale High School to Central Baldwin Middle School to honor Deputy Smith and pay their final respects.
FOX10 will have live coverage of the service and procession.
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