Hundreds say good-bye to a Baldwin County hero

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ROBERTSDALE, Ala. (WKRG) — It wasn’t a funeral — it was a celebration of Deputy Bill Smith’s life. The first speaker, Bill’s boss Sheriff Hoss Mack, began his eulogy with a list of attributes. “The man, the husband, the father, brother, volunteer, friend, firefighter, leader, teacher, deputy sheriff, instructor, lifesaver, organ donor, hero.”

Any one of those attributes would be enough for some, but the sheriff said Bill Smith possessed them all.

The service complete with “Amazing Grace” being played on bagpipes, outside the Baldwin Couny Coliseum a 21-gun salute, Taps, and a flyover by Alabama Law Enforcement helicopters in the missing man formation.

“If Bill could have scripted his passing, he would have scripted it just like this,” said Wayne Willis, longtime family friend and mayor of Weaver, Ala. “It would be responding to a hot call, charging in and saving lives and for that, we are all grateful,” he said choking back tears.

By now, most know how he died, but it’s how he lived that the folks in attendance will hold close.

There were tears and hugs and laughter through those tears as they remembered a man who touched so many lives, always willing to give 150 percent. So, when the radio crackled over a loudspeaker and Bill’s call signal was broadcast one last time, those tears came again.

“Bill has gone ahead,” said friend Jason Woodruff with Gulf Shores Police. “It is up to us to maintain the standard and answer the call. I challenge you to remember that, just as Bill did.”

One of Deputy Smith’s favorite phrases was, “I work for the cause, not the applause.” There was plenty of applause on this day for a life well-lived.

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