*Updated Sunday July 24, 2016*
It's been 4 years, as of Tuesday July 26, 2016, since the untimely passing of Deputy William Mast Jr. He was just 23 years old when killed, while responding to a call in Deep Gap during the early morning hours of July 26, 2012. Mast became the second officer of the Watauga County Sheriff's Department killed in the line of duty since 1952, and only the third officer to pass away while actively serving.
In an article I wrote on February 24, 2014 titled Widow Of Watauga County Sheriff’s Deputy Shares Her Story, my first sentence was “It was an event that no family, law enforcement agency, or media outlet wants to be informed of: “Deputy Killed In Overnight Shooting“. Looking back at those words it still seems so surreal from a reporter standpoint. As his funeral and procession was attended by people from all over the nation, it felt like time stood still for many of us watching or covering the event.
Since the time of his passing there has been: a bridge dedicated, his name added to the Fallen Officer's Memorial, a memorial foot race established in his memory, and the birth of his son just 17 days after he passed.
On Sunday night, July 24, 2016, Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman emailed in noting the anniversary of Mast's passing, “Please be in prayer for Paige and Hunter and the Mast family, and for Preston and Rebecca Russell and the Russell family. Also, please be in prayer for ALL of the men and women in law enforcement, as they strive to daily serve and protect our citizens.”
WataugaOnline.com honors Deputy William Mast Jr service, his life, and most important his reach beyond death in touching so many.