Deputy Howard Gudgell lost his battle on Friday.
“If you knew Gudge, he was always smiling,” said MP Brian Melashenko, a colleague and friend. “People like him are very rare. He was the typical good old boy. He was known for his smile and good nature. “
Gudgell worked for years as a court bailiff and retired in 2015, but returned a few years later and worked in the warrants division.
The sheriff’s office staged a big departure as his body was escorted out of the hospital. The firefighters greeted from the viaducts as the procession passed.
As they cried, they had no idea they would lose another colleague to the virus a day later.
Matthew Pagan, husband and father of three, worked in prison at the reservations office.
“It was very fast. It was sudden, ”said detention officer Brittany Winters who worked with him. “Matthew Pagan was an exceptional man. He was genuine in everything he did. He was caring, he was compassionate. “
And they quickly developed a personal connection.
“He’s the godfather of my new baby,” Winters said.
Pagan was already in the hospital when little Gemma was born two weeks ago.
“Unfortunately, he never got to meet her,” Winters said.
Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn said the pair will be remembered for years to come.
“The legacy of these two guys – good public servants,” Waybourn said. “They led their race and they did well. “
The department lost three other employees to COVID earlier.
“It’s terrible,” Melachenko said. “We need whoever he wants. It doesn’t matter who it is. “
The sheriff said the whole department was dealing with the same emotions.
“Incredibly sad, helpless, a little overwhelmed,” Waybourn said.
All those lost to the virus will be remembered for a long time, he said.
And in the case of Matthew Pagan – in the life of the goddaughter he never met.
“From now on, she will know his name and know who he was,” Winters said. “She will grow up knowing exactly who he was. “