A hush washed over the streets of Gainesville as two white horses pulled the caisson of Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon, 28, who was killed this week in the line of duty, toward his final rest.
Hundreds of community members lined McEver Road, Browns Bridge Road and Memorial Park, to show their support, while law enforcement from across Georgia led the funeral procession on Thursday, July 11.
“It was beautiful and very moving,” Linda Martin of Gainesville said. “It made me so proud of our community and how much they love our officers who take care of us.”
Whether people knew Dixon or not, they all shared respect for his sacrifice.
Brian Lovall, as he waited for the procession to begin, reflected on his time watching Dixon grow up. Lovall said his kids went to school with Dixon and considered him a good friend.
“When we lived near them (the Dixons), my son was jumping on a trampoline and cut his forehead,” he said. “Blane stayed with him until my wife could get there to get him a doctor. He was a good kid.”
Although Talethea Love didn’t know Dixon, her sister, Deputy Collette Sprague, worked the same shift with him. Love and her family members wore blue shirts with Sprague’s patrol number printed on them.
“When I heard what happened, I was scared for all police officers,” Love said.
Katelyn Seabolt said she also shares the same fear for losing someone in law enforcement. Her father is an officer with the Gainesville Police Department.
When she got word of Dixon’s death, Seabolt said her heart dropped. Her mind instantly went to her father and how he puts his life on the line every day.
“It’s very stressful, but I know not all heroes wear capes,” Seabolt said.
Vernon Farmer, a U.S. Army veteran, stood with his two granddaughters, Natasha and Becca Moreno, at Dixon’s procession. The three of them knew Dixon and his family.
Natasha and Becca held up a handmade sign that read, “Thank you for your service Officer Dixon.”
“We want to respect Officer Dixon because he helped everybody around here,” 10-year-old Natasha said. “He was nice and very kind.”
Roger Futrell, a U.S. Navy veteran, said he finds importance in not only respecting the American flag, but those like Dixon, who selflessly serve the country.
“It’s unfortunate that in our day and age, there are too many people that don’t know what being patriotic means,” he said. “Being out here is one way to show it.”