That message was a recurring theme as lawmakers, family members and members of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office gathered on a section of Highway 11-W to dedicate the “Sgt. Steve Hinkle Memorial Highway” on Monday.
“We should never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and their community,” Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy said at the dedication ceremony.
Hinkle, 65, passed away in late February three days after being shot at a welfare check that escalated to a standoff.
State Rep. John Crawford, R-Kingsport, said lawmakers originally thought about putting the memorial marker on a small portion of Highway 11-W near the Highway 394 intersection but Gov. Bill Lee “wouldn't have that.”
“(Lee) wanted us to bring this (memorial highway) to the start of Sullivan County to the end of Sullivan, so people would drive through this county and know how important Sgt. Hinkle was to us,” Crawford pointed out.
Cassidy thanked county and state leaders for making the dedication possible.
“We all know this is a beautiful and most deserved dedication to Sgt. Hinkle,” Cassidy concluded. “This day is very gratifying for his family, friends and members of the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office. Everyone traveling this highway will be reminded of the sacrifice our brother, our hero, Steve Hinkle made while protecting others.”
Hinkle served his community for more than 27 years before he was killed in the line of duty.