By Jesse Wood
July 26, 2013. Members of the all-volunteer Watauga Community Band gathered near the Doc Watson statue in downtown Boone to commemorate fallen Sheriff’s Deputy William Mast, who was killed in the line of duty one year ago today.
When the clock struck 10 a.m., Melony Winkleman, Beth Winkler and Susan and Steve Frank rang handbells 10 times to honor Mast. Billy Ralph Winkler directed the ensemble, and the bells were from First Baptist Church.
“Basically, there wasn’t a real organized commemoration in a public place and we wanted to do that,” Steve Frank said.
Recently, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution in memory of Mast. The resolution encouraged citizens, businesses, nonprofits and local governments to observe a one-minute moment of remembrance at 10 a.m. in honor of Mast. Commissioners also requested all flags to be flown half-staff on July 26.
On Friday afternoon, Sheriff Len Hagaman said, “It’s a gut-wrenching day. It’s sad at the very least.”
“He was a good officer, no question about that. Kind of high speed, which is a good thing. Very involved, very intent with what he was doing,” Hagaman said. “He is an inspiration for other folks, for both veterans and new folks, and definitely was a team player. He will sorely be missed.”