GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — There are some people out there who just seem to make best friends everywhere they go. Gallatin has one of those people: photographer Richard Suter.
"He instantly makes me smile," said Jimmy John's franchise owner Callie Radley.
"People love him cause he loves people," added Gallatin city attorney Susan High-McAuley.
"He always sheds light on darkness," said Tyler Martin of Old Soul Tattoo.
"He's there to coax the smile out of somebody," smiled Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown.
All these people know Suter's famous saying:
"You can never go wrong loving on people," High-McAuley said.
"What a beautiful sentiment," Brown agreed.
"The whole world needs it, y'know," said Martin.
NewsChannel 5 met Suter late last year, when he told us the meaning behind the tattoo of three symbols he picked up at Old Soul Tattoo: + > -.
"Positivity is greater than negativity," Suter explained to us in 2021. "These little symbols couldn't mean more to me. I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer."
The way Richard shared his story with Gallatin, his positivity never shaken, struck a chord with his city.
"Getting to lift people up and see the positive side of things that are normally horrific, it's been a blessing," said Suter in 2021.
On July 12, Gallatin decided to tell Richard, 'thank you.'
"Today, July 12 — I picked 12 cause it's Richard's favorite number — is Richard Suter Day," said Brown.
That's the proclamation, but the truth is, Suter's symbol has been everywhere in Gallatin for months. It's seen on signs outside businesses and homes and on the sign at city hall.
Radley's Jimmy John's has a picture of Suter at every table. At the Chamber of Commerce, some sport temporary face tattoos of Suter's symbol. Others have Suter's symbol tattooed on a wrist for keeps.
Because of his health, Suter couldn't be part of this story, but his wife Elizabeth said he's staying strong through treatment. For that, a few best friends have his maxim to repeat: you never go wrong loving on people.
"I love you, Rich," said Radley.
"Richard, I love you," said High-McAuley. "I tell you that often. I'm supporting you. I'm praying for you."
"I love you, man," Martin added. "I hope you're doing good."
"Richard, I love you so much, and I'm so grateful to know you," said Brown. "You've made my life better, and you've made Gallatin better."
Editors Note: NewsChannel 5 learned that Suter died early Wednesday morning, after the original story aired.