COVID claims life of Burt County Deputy Justin Smith
Processional follows from Omaha to Burt County
Burt County Sheriff Eric Nick was saddened to report the loss of Deputy Justin Smith due to the COVID-19 virus on Wednesday, July 28th. Nick said that Deputy Smith’s battle was rather short and advanced life support measures had been taken to stabilize the deputy during his battle.
“Justin was a devoted husband and father,” Sheriff Nick said. “He loved Burt County and serving his community. He will be missed greatly by his entire Burt County Sheriff's Office family and the City of Decatur.”
Deputy Smith also served as the Police Chief in the Village of Decatur and was a member of the United States Army Reserves.
"The passing of Justin leaves a huge void for us,” Decatur Village Board President Mark Siecke said. “He was very generous with his time and had a service mentality. If he knew you and knew you needed a hand, he would show up to help whether you knew he was coming or not."
As of now the Village Board has not yet been able to meet to discuss their option when it comes to replacing Justin as Police Chief. They have been contacted by a few agencies to help fill the gaps in the schedule.
At the age of 17, Smith joined the army where he became a medic. He trained many of the troops going overseas before following his childhood dream to be a police officer. He had a chance to change his MOS to military police and finished out his military career with 9 years of service.
He would go on to join the 215 American Legion where he served as Sergeant-at-Arms and was an active member at the time of his death.
Flags were requested to be flown at half-staff until further notice by the Burt County Board of Supervisors Chairman, David Schold.
Deputy Smith was transported to Pelan Funeral Home in Oakland on Friday afternoon. Area law enforcement joined by fire and rescue departments lined streets and highways for the processional.
With red and blue lights flashing, and what seemed like a mile-long processional of law enforcement vehicles, Smith was taken from Oakland to Tekamah where friends, family and law enforcement representatives joined for a memorial service at the Tekamah Auditorium on Saturday morning.
The 42-year-old leaves behind his wife Donette and children Paul Francis and Brian Lee of Decatur.