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'He was a good man'

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Marion County says goodbye to Deputy Anthony Rakes

By Stephen Lega

Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Clements walked to a podium positioned alongside the coffin at the front of Marion County High School's gymnasium. Before he said a word, he took a moment to gather himself. Fighting back the pain visible in his face, he spoke about his fallen deputy, Anthony Rakes.

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"He was a good man," Clements said at Saturday's funeral service. "Everyone who knew him would tell you that, and it didn't take long for those who didn't know him to realize that."

Rakes was killed at approximately 2 a.m. Nov. 14 when he was checking on a vehicle that had stopped in the westbound lane of Danville Highway outside of the Lebanon city limits. Rakes was shot and later died in surgery at Spring View Hospital.

The man accused of shooting Rakes, Dewayne Shipp, 49, of McDaniels was treated at University Hospital in Louisville for a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the leg. He has been transferred to the infirmary at the Kentucky State Reformatory, and he is facing a murder charge.

On Saturday, law enforcement officials from all over Kentucky and a few from out of state joined local emergency service personnel and hundreds of Marion Countians in paying their respects to Rakes.

Clements referred to his fellow law enforcement officials as his brothers and sisters.

"Next time you see them out on the road, remember Anthony," the sheriff said, encouraging everyone to thank them for their service and for what they do each day.

Clements said Rakes was living a lifelong dream of becoming a law enforcement officer. In December of 2004, Rakes graduated from the Department of Justice training and started his career with the Lebanon Police Department.

Clements said he's been told that when Rakes was a child, he had a toy gun.

"He would tell people, 'Freeze, I'm Carrol Kirkland,'" Clements said.

Kirkland was the previous Marion County Sheriff, and in March of 2006, he hired Rakes as a deputy sheriff in Marion County.

"I know Carrol was honored to have him as a deputy, and I was honored to work with him," Clements said.

He continued to say that Rakes understood the risks of his career, but he truly loved what he did. He described Rakes as even-tempered and respectful and as someone who took pride in his profession.

Rakes wasn't flashy, according to Clements. The women in the sheriff's office could easily make the quiet and reserved deputy blush.

"One thing he was flashy about, he sure did love that brand new Dodge Charger," Clements said.

Clements also read from a tribute to Rakes written by Ollie Wicker. Wicker wrote that Nov. 14, 2012, would be remembered as a day all of Marion County hung their heads.

"It was as if a big, beautiful star had been stolen from the night time sky, and the morning sun rebelled at the demand to shine," Clements read.

He continued to read that the tragedy brought big city media to our town, but this wasn't just a story for the community, it was a shared experience.

"It was about our loved one, our brother, our friend," Clements read. "Our hero."

Clements fought through his own emotions to conclude his remarks.

"Thank you ... Deputy Anthony Rakes for your friendship, love for your community and your service to Marion County," he said.

Gene Laferty and Michelle Rakes sang "The Old Rugged Cross" before minister Bo Sherrell delivered his remarks. Sherrell, who is one of Rakes' cousins, told the crowd he may have been one of the first people Rakes "arrested." Sherrell said he recalled pulling up to Rakes' family's home, and Rakes, who was 6 or 7 years old at the time, ran out to the car wearing cowboy boots and two cap pistols on his hips.

"He said, 'I'm fighting the bad guys.' And he said, 'I will cuff you and stuff you,'" Sherrell recalled.

He also pointed out that Rakes wasn't a quitter. Despite losing his mother when he was 11 and his father when he was 21, he continued to pursue his dream.

"That dream was being a cop," Sherrell said.

He added that when he heard what had happened last Wednesday, he turned to scripture for words of comfort. In Acts 20, he read about the Apostle Paul saying goodbye for the last time to his friends at one of the churches where he had worked for years. They felt sorrow because they knew they would see him no more.

"Many that are sitting here are the same way. They're broken-hearted," Sherrell said.

But he added that there is hope. Because of what Jesus has done, Rakes' family and friends have an opportunity to see him again.

At the conclusion of the service, the Patriot Guard Riders of Kentucky made a presentation to Rakes' family, and two-by-two, the Riders saluted Rakes.

As the hundreds of law enforcement and emergency services personnel filed out, they took a moment, individually, in pairs and in small groups to pause and pay their last respects.

Following the funeral service, more than 200 police cars, fire trucks and ambulances and more than 100 private vehicles escorted Rakes to Old Liberty Cemetery outside of Bradfordsville. Along the route, Marion Countians stood on the side of the road to show their respect for Rakes.

At the cemetery, bagpipers and drummers provided their own escort, leading the hearse carrying Rakes to his gravesite. Officer Jimmy Childress of the Louisville Police's mounted division led a riderless horse, a symbol of a fallen officer. The horse was named, appropriately, Cruiser.

Hundreds of American flags decorated the cemetery. Honor guards from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, the Louisville Metro Police Department and the Kentucky State Police greeted Rakes as he arrived at his final resting place.

The pallbearers put Rakes' flag-draped coffin in place. A three-round volley was fired in his honor. A trumpeter played "Taps" as hundreds of officers gave a final salute.

The flag that covered his coffin was carefully folded and presented to Sheriff Clements, who in turn presented that flag and one other to Rakes' sisters.

"Our sheriff's family as well as all of Marion County that knew him will miss him," Clements said at the funeral service. "He was a good man."