SPRINGFIELD — The Clark County community are saying a final goodbye to fallen Clark County Sheriff’s Office Matthew Yates today.
Yates was killed July 24 after a suspect shot him while he was responding to reports of gunfire at a mobile home park near South Charleston.
Yates’s funeral began noon at the First Christian Church on Middle Urbana Road in Springfield. After the service, he will be buried at Ferncliff Cemetery in Springfield.
The order of service has Pastor Darryl May opening the service. Scripture and prayer will be led by Pastor Bruce Sigman with the obituary read by Marlene Avery.
Pastor May opened the service with a brief prayer and words. He said he, like many others, had many nice things to say about Yates.
Pastor Sigman said Yates is a hero and and loved his family, community, country, brothers and sisters at the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
Sigman also took time to offer a moment of silence for an Elwood Police Officer in Indiana who was shot and killed in the line duty Sunday.
Clark County Sheriff Deborah Burchett offered condolences to Deputy Yates’ family and thanked them for sharing Yates with the department.
“Matthew was a warrior in law enforcement,” Burchett said.
Burchett said Yates devoted his life to making his community better and that he would be overwhelmed by the outpouring of love sent to him over the past week.
She concluded her remarks by sending love to Yates.
“We have it from here, please rest peacefully,” Burchett concluded.
Several deputies and members of the Sheriff’s Office and the Yates family remembered for his humor, strength and leadership.
Deputy William Crump asked those in attendance to close their eyes and think of their reflections of Yates. For him, some of those words included honored, controlled, appreciative, genuine and dependable. He said those words were the legacy that will live in everyone’s hearts and minds.
Deputy Matthew Harris said he had known Yates since he was nine years old. He called Yates a brother he could count on for anything.
“He gave me an example of how to carry myself in this position,” Harris said.
Yates’ humor was a key in many of the speakers’ remembrance of the deputy. Stories told brought laughter across the congregation.
Similarly, Yates’ strength was also remembered.
“You knew if Matthew was there, everything was going to be OK,” Major Chris Clark said.
Yates’ stepsons, Anthony and Andrew Reed called Yates the only dad they ever knew.
“He didn’t just take us in, he rescued us,” Anthony Reed said.
Pastor May ended the service by presenting the eulogy celebrating and remembering Yates’ life as a man who “could cross the culture and connect.”
To accommodate the procession today, the U.S. 68 northbound ramp to state Route 41 and both U.S. 68 northbound and southbound ramps to state Route 334 and state Route 41 will close between Upper Valley Pike and Bechtle Avenue.
At Yate’s visitation Sunday, residents cried, hugged, and comforted each other. American flags and blue ribbons were wrapped around trees outside the church as people there shared their respects.
“It’s just a great loss to the community,” said Denise Williams, N.A.A.C.P. Springfield President. “He was an outstanding person. He was a servant to the community.”
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was among those who came out to comfort Yates’ family.
He told News Center 7′s Brandon Lewis that this loss shows how tough it can be to work in law enforcement.
“When a police or a sheriff’s deputy responds to a home, they never know for sure what’s inside and they don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “It should be a reminder to all of us how difficult this job is.”
Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett told Lewis she’s known Yates since he was two years old, watched him grow up and it’s surreal and sad knowing yates is no longer here.
“I don’t know where we’re going to go from here. I really don’t,” she told Lewis. “But we will, we have to stand up, stand tall and we have to remember Matthew’s memory.”
Yates was just 41 years old and is described as a loving husband, father, son, brother and friend.
Earlier this week, News Center 7 spoke with his father, a retired sheriff’s deputy, he said his son was his hero.
A Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy vehicle has been parked outside Springfield City Hall in honor of Yates.
There was a memorial walk Friday at the Clark County Fair in his Memory.
A sheriff’s deputy told News Center 7′s Brandon Lewis at the walk that they’ve been overwhelmed by the support from the community this week.
Lewis also spoke with Luke’s Wings, an organization that covers that travel expense for family and friends of fallen officers, and they told him they paid for flights for two of Yates’ out-of-state relatives to get to Ohio in time for these services.
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