The Hall County Sheriff’s Office and the family of Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon, who was killed in the line of duty last year, received badges Friday, Dec. 18, crafted from repurposed wooden pallets to honor the fallen deputy.
The badges were created by Josh and Jeremy Nicholson, brothers who also created a piece for Gainesville Police Chief Jay Parrish.
Jeremy Nicholson, deputy Dixon and Dixon’s brother, Zack, used to work together at a local moving and storage company. The two men recalled one of their jobs together, a 21-hour move in Thomaston that was supposed to be a quick gig.
“The three of us had some rough days but always a good time,” Zack Dixon said. “This is a real good tribute for him.”
Zack Dixon said his family recently moved into a new home and set up a memorial wall in the living room for their fallen family member. He described his brother, who went by Blane, as a “fun, life-loving guy.”
“It didn’t matter after a long, hard, difficult day,” Zack Dixon said. “Blane was always still smiling, cracking jokes and having a good time.”
Dixon, 28, died July 8, 2019, after pursuing four men in an allegedly stolen vehicle on Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Dixon and another deputy reached the suspects on Highland Avenue. Dixon was shot one time in an exchange of gunfire, according to the GBI.
Four men have been charged with murder, and their case is still pending.
“We appreciate the very kind gesture to honor Deputy Dixon,” Sheriff Gerald Couch said in a statement. “We will place the badge plaque at our training center as a reminder of his sacrifice for all of our current staff as well as future generations of law enforcement officers.”
Josh Nicholson, who owns a small pallet company, said the idea came to him in a dream. Though he was not a woodworker, Josh Nicholson said “something inside told me that I needed to do this.”
“My little brother is the creative part of the artistry, and I just kind of put it together and run the business side of it,” he said.
The badge has “Dixon” written across the front inside of a “Back the Blue” flag, which is an American flag with a thin blue line as one of the stripes.
To make one of the badges, Josh Nicholson said they sand down the pallet before painting and finishing with polyurethane.
He said he’s given badges to others in the community, as well, and that the badge presented to the Dixon family was a way to show support.
“I’m trying to do it as a token of appreciation,” Josh Nicholson said.