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Honor fallen deputy by thanking law officers

We hope and pray that the death of Ryan Hendrix is not in vain.

Ryan Phillip Hendrix died on the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 10, nine hours after an armed vehicle break-in suspect shot him in the face in a driveway in Mountain Home. He was 34.
One of eight children of Donald L. and Heidi J. Hendrix, Ryan joined the Marine Corps out of high school and volunteered for a tour of duty in Iraq in 2006. He joined the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office in 2012 as a jailer and earned his Basic Law Enforcement degree three years later. He became a patrol deputy, then a field training officer, SWAT team member and detective.
“He was doing the job he was born to do, and died doing the job he loved,” his family said.
By all accounts, Ryan Hendrix devoted his life to serving his country, community, church and family. A devout Christian, he even gave a lasting gift as he transcended from the church militant to the church triumphant. As their son and brother lay mortally wounded, the family made the decision that Ryan would have asked of them. His organs were donated so that others could live.
“I stand here today asking a special blessing on the family of Ryan Hendrix, who gave everything to assist innocent strangers, facing down the evil he found,” Sheriff Lowell Griffin said the morning after the deputy’s death. “Make no mistake about it, I have been through every aspect of the investigation. What I can tell you is that the officers there did everything right and we still suffered a tragic loss.”
“Ryan made that sacrifice yesterday,” the sheriff said. “And yet I found solace in knowing that Ryan had tremendous faith and God has a plan and his plan includes Ryan.”

Ryan Hendrix’s life is worthy of the tribute and honor that have come his way in memorial services already conducted and those to come. His life of service and his death will not have been in vain if the community here and beyond will come to understand and appreciate the courage and devotion of law officers, firefighters and emergency personnel like Ryan Hendrix who put their lives on the line every day and every night “to assist innocent strangers” and confront and defeat evil. They run to the shooting, run to the fire and run to the bleeding and broken bodies.
We hear a lot about police-involved shootings that look questionable on smart-phone videos. In some cases, the actions of law officers truly are examples of wrongly applied deadly force. Not this time. The shooting of Ryan Hendrix drew return fire that killed the shooter. There’s no question that deadly force by Ryan’s fellow deputies was justified.
In the end, we can move forward knowing that Ryan Phillip Hendrix died doing what he was born to do, as his family aptly put it, doing what he loved. The best way we can honor the fallen officer is to honor and support his family, his fellow sheriff’s deputies and first responders everywhere. Theirs is a thankless, dangerous and sometimes deadly job. Like Ryan Hendrix, they put their lives on the line to keep us safe.

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To donate to support Ryan Hendrix's family click here.