NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It has been almost one month since a Cheatham County deputy died in a crash, and his family hopes to use their pain for purpose to fulfill his longtime dream.
Deputy Stephen Reece was killed in a two-vehicle wreck near the Mongtomery-Cheatham County line on November 15. He was hit when he failed to stop at a stop sign according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
He may have been known as a protector on or off duty, but he also had a soft spot for animals. Sheriff Mike Breedlove called him an "animal whisperer" who frequently would bring in animals he found on the streets. "He was the kind of guy that if he seen your dog outside in the cold and no shelter or anything, he'll take your dog," Reece's sister Angie Kirby told NewsChannel 5.
Kirby said her older brother had been saving up money to buy some land to shelter animals by the time he retired. He had his eyes set on a 22-acre property on Old Higdon Road in Joelton currently worth $151,000.
"He didn't want just a shelter, he wanted to fence it off, so they can go out and play. He wanted a whole big area for them to run around in," she said.
Reece's family is now working to accomplish his dream even with him gone. Kirby is in the process of applying to a list of grants and figuring out ways to start fundraisers. She admits the process is early on but is committed to do her best even though it gets tough.
"Some days I wake up and think I can do it, and some days I think I can't," Kirby tearfully said. "I just really want to do this for him because he deserves it and he was a good man."
Reece devoted the majority of his life to serving others, whether that was his tenure as a Marine or decades in law enforcement. He entered the military immediately after graduating high school. His career spanned from his time working as a police officer in Chattanooga, Lebanon and Millersville. However, he spent the most time at the Metro Nashville Police Department where he began to work in 2001.
If you want to help Kirby, email firstname.lastname@example.org.