Deputy Shoemate Funeral
OSAGE BEACH - Hundreds celebrated the life of Miller County sheriff's deputy Casey Shoemate Wednesday morning.
Shoemate died Friday night while responding to an emergency call. On his way to the scene, he crashed head-on with another car on Highway Y, just south of Eldon.
The other driver was seriously injured at the scene, but is now in fair condition.
Cole County Sheriff John Wheeler said death is typically a difficult topic for small communities like Osage Beach.
"It's solemn, sad and tragic when anybody dies but even more-so when a first responder dies," Wheeler said. "It's a small area so we work with each other a lot. He's not just a face or a number, he's a person to us."
Various first responders from the area including the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Eldon Fire Department and Eldon EMS all attended the funeral to show their respect for Shoemate and his family.
KOMU 8 News spoke with friends who attended the funeral, they said Shoemate's role in the various communities he served in made an impact on everyone he came into contact with.
Several local businesses in Eldon even have signs on windows or on lawns that read "Rest in Peace Deputy Shoemate."
"It's pretty impressive to see a community like that pull together and shown their support," Wheeler said.
In addition to first responders, the Patriot Guard Riders honored Shoemate at the ceremony and participated in his nearly 20 minute processional.
"He didn't die in vain, there's no greater love than those that lay down their life for their brothers," Wheeler said.