When an officer is killed in the line of duty, there are no words that can accurately describe the heartbreak their family and community must endure in the coming days.
At Sgt. Curtis Billue’s funeral service Saturday, family and members of the law enforcement community packed into the Wilkinson County High auditorium to pay their respects to his life of service.
The end of the prayer at the beginning of the service set the tone for the following hour.
“This is a celebration. This is NOT a funeral. This is a celebration of a life! Hallelujah!”
Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections Greg Dozier spoke first.
He recounted his difficulty in finding the words to give the Billue family strength in the wake of Tuesday’s tragedy.
“As I was preparing to come this morning, I was thinking wrong…what could I provide to the Billue family that would be words of strength,” asked Rozier.
He spoke of his meetings with the Billue family, and thanked them for helping get him through the difficult time.
“That’s a strong family, they’re strong. Your strength has carried us through it while we’ve been hoping to provide you strength to carry you through it,” said Dozier. “We know he’s a father, we know he’s a brother, he’s a son. He’s all these things to the community…he’s our friend, our protector. He’s served in so many roles that hero came to mind.”
He noted how proud the family was that their son had served the state for a decade, but also in protecting his country as Major in the U.S. Army.
Baldwin State Prison warden Cedric Taylor spoke next about his experience working with Billue.
“As a warden, we meet a lot of people in passing…he was the ultimate professional” said Taylor, “You [the family] gave me a new fire to go forward.”
Curtis' siblings, Denise and Bruce, also reinforced the theme of their brother's life of undying service.
Denise introduced a powerful rendition of "Wind Beneath My Wings."
Bruce spoke about Curtis' time in the military and spoke briefly about how Curtis was taking care of their 94-year-old father.