SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) — Lisa Yates stayed strong as she talked about her son, Deputy Matthew Yates.
She lost her baby last Sunday, but now she is remembering what an amazing man he was.
“I’m so proud of Matthew and everything that he has done, and all the love that the community have gave him and the family,” Lisa said.
Lisa was surrounded by other family members, friends, even strangers at her son’s visitation at First Christian Church in Springfield. Everyone praised Deputy Yates, including Clark County Sheriff Deborah Burchett. She spoke for the first time since the night Yates was shot and killed in the line of duty. She said this tragedy still does not feel real.
“It’s like we’re asleep and we’ll wake up sooner or later down the road because it’s been so bad on all of us,” Sheriff Burchett said.
Sheriff Burchett has known Deputy Yates since he was two; she watched him grow up and later join the force. She said one of her favorite memories of Yates was when he was called to a scene while he was in the middle of pumping gas. This earned him an endearing knick-name.
“He failed to take the gas hose out of his car. And he drove the car off with the hose in the back of the cruiser. And he was scared to death he was going to be in trouble. And I just laughed and said there’s my hosey man,” Sheriff Burchett said.
Memories like that echoed the halls of the church Sunday evening as people paid tribute to a man who touched everyone’s hearts.
“He always had a smile. He never met a stranger. And he’s just one of the best,” Sheriff Burchett said.
Yates’ mother is now urging the community to continue her son’s legacy.
“He set the foundation and I hope you can just follow through with it,” Lisa said.