HUGHSON -- Many say Deputy Dennis Wallace played a vital part in the community, especially for youth athletics.
Jose Ramos said he is staying strong for his sister, Mercedes, now widowed after Wallace was killed in the line of duty Sunday morning in Hughson.
"He wasn't just a family member," Ramos said, adding Wallace was an all-around community man.
When Wallace was not wearing his law enforcement uniform, he was wearing the one for Hughson United Soccer League. Wallace and Ramos started the youth soccer league three years ago.
Ramos said the lifelong 49er football fan had a chance encounter with soccer.
When he saw the positive impact the sport had on his niece, he knew he had to promote it in the community.
"Through his work through DARE, he saw what a soccer program could do for his community," Ramos said.
Law enforcement was his career. Youth advocacy was his passion. Many said that is because Wallace did not have children of his own.
"My sister and he couldn't have children, and I think that's a part of why he had special interest, special love to help kids," Ramos said.
Shelby Litke, 13, plays in the Hughson United Soccer League. She says she will always remember Coach Wallace's soccer tips.
"He'd talk about fair play, trying their hardest, and keeping up the pace, and to never give up," Litke said.
She said these tips can be applied to everyday life.
Flags now fly at half staff all across Hughson, as the entire community honors Deputy and Coach Dennis Wallace.
"We were just planning our Thanksgiving. And we were planning a big trip with his wife, my sister. We're definitely going to miss him," Ramos said.
The soccer league hopes to start a scholarship in Coach Wallace's name. Deputy Wallace's alleged killer will be in Stanislaus County Court Tuesday afternoon.