A community is preparing for a painful goodbye. Charlotte County Deputy Christopher Taylor will be laid to rest on Wednesday. He was hit and killed by a driver who deputies say was drunk.
And Tuesday, we are hearing from the Pastor presiding over Taylor’s memorial service on Wednesday.
Pastor Gary Clark said Sheriff Bill Prummell called him around Thanksgiving asking if he would be willing to be part of Wednesday’s service.
He said it’s humbling to be asked, and he hopes he’ll be able to bring some hope and encouragement to what will be an emotional day.
While Pastor Clark didn’t know Taylor personally, after speaking with his family and colleagues, he said it’s not hard to find the words to describe him.
“He touched their hearts; he touched their lives,” Pastor Clark said. “And so he’s a special person to be able to, to impact people’s lives like that.”
The loss of a young deputy full of such promise and potential hit Pastor Clark hard.
“It’s the hardest thing that will ever happen to anybody to lose a child, to lose someone in the prime of life just getting started. He was, you know, thrilled and happy. And had a bright future. And it’s just harder to wrap your head around that,” Pastor Clark said.
He goes into Wednesday’s service with a heavy heart.
But he also goes into the service with a message of hope and faith.
“What I’m thinking of is what a loyal, faithful, honorable guy. He was doing his job, caring about his community, caring for people. And that’s really the angle I feel like I need to express from the scriptures, how God honors that. He wants us to be like that. He’s proud of him,” Pastor Clark said.
Deputy Taylor’s fellow first responders have never left his side. They were with him after he was hit, in the hospital, and now, at his funeral.
It will be a funeral fit for a hero. The men and women who called Taylor family will make sure the world gets to know him, what he meant to them, and what he still means to them.
The Guns n Hoses Pipes and Drums of Southwest Florida, a band made up of former first responders, will play at the funeral.
“We will be playing the family into the venue. And then playing amazing grace outs. When he comes outside, we’ll play and then we’ll play amazing grace, and then another two and going home. And then one of our pipers will be going to the cemetery to play for Chris when they bring them to their final burial spot,” said Band Master John MacMahon. “Music is always you know, can always soothe the pain and the suffering that the folks are going through and, and that’s what, that’s what we try to do for the for the families.”
He hopes the beat of the drums and the sounds of the pipes can help ease the pain of everyone who hurting.
“This just hits home, and we’re family, whether or not, you know, the guy or gal, their family, and it hurts no matter what. No matter how you try to shield yourself from that, there are times, especially when they do the last call, or that because at that point, that means that the ceremony is over. And it’s very emotional. And that will be very emotional tomorrow when they play the last call signifying that Chris is, you know, what they say is 10-seven,” said MacMahon
Guns n Hoses are just one of the many groups that will be at the funeral to honor Taylor.
WINK News spoke with the pastor who will be presiding over the funeral, Pastor Garry Clark.
Clark didn’t know Taylor personally, but just from speaking with his family and colleagues, he says it’s not difficult to figure out what kind of person he was and the impact he made in his time at the sheriff’s office.
Sheriff Bill Prummell reached out and asked Clark if he would speak at Taylor’s memorial service. The pastor says he’s humbled by the opportunity.
While he’s spoken at numerous funerals for members of law enforcement before, Clark says this one feels different. He hopes that he can bring some peace to the deputy’s family and colleagues with his words.
“I know, it’s hard to feel that. But I firmly believe that I believe he’s with the lord. And, you know, he’s at peace. But his family and people that love him so much, they’re hurting. And they need folks, us, you, we, everybody to just wrap our arms around them and do everything we can to encourage them because it is it’s just a devastating loss,” said Clark.
WINK News will bring you live coverage of Taylor’s funeral Wednesday beginning at 10 a.m.