If you live in the High Country you didn’t need to meet Chris Ward or Logan Fox to be shocked at the news of their deaths. And even if you don’t live in Watauga, Ashe or Avery counties, the concept of two small-town deputies being killed during a welfare check should come as a horrific realization — yet one that is sadly part of the fabric of towns and cities throughout our nation.

We certainly don’t want to lessen the pain such tragedies cause in larger communities, but in our rural and less populous areas, such deaths are closer to home. Chris and Logan weren’t just officers, they were the men who visited our children in classrooms, those we counted upon when our business alarms were ringing, the friends we saw in church on Sunday, the first-responders we called during an emergency, and yes, the protectors who would check on our loved ones when we were unable to do so ourselves.

We would like think that such tragedies can’t happen so near to where we live and work and worship. But they do. It’s been almost nine years since the death of Watauga County Deputy William Mast Jr., who was killed while responding to a call in Deep Gap on July 26, 2012, and for many of us that memory is still clear.

Such tragedies are our reality. Our prayer is that we need not face such adversity in the future, that this does not happen again in the High Country or anywhere else.

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