Hughson Soccer Fields Dedicated to Fallen Stanislaus Sheriff’s Deputy

HUGHSON -- Before he died, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Deputy Dennis Wallace talked of expanding the soccer fields at the Hughson Sports and Fitness Complex.

Those who knew Deputy Wallace best say the soccer fields at the Hughson Sports and Fitness Complex are the essence of his spirit.

"He would have been really, really happy, excited to see so many kids," said Mercedes Wallace, Deputy Wallace's wife.

Saturday morning, hundreds came to a dedication at the field where he spent so much of his free time.

On Nov. 13, Wallace was shot execution style less than three miles away at Fox Grove Park by a suspect in a stolen car.

Mercedes Wallace cut the ribbon on a new sign dedicating the fields to her husband. As she did so, she could imagine how he would react.

"The smirk on his face, those big dimples he had," she said.

"He wanted a big party all the time," said Mike Bava, co-chairman of the Hughson Sports and Fitness Complex committee.

Bava helped make the dedication and the memorial a reality with help from the city and school district. But Bava said expanding the soccer fields was originally the brain child of Deputy Wallace's.

"He would call up and it would be like 6:30, 7 in the morning," Bava said. "'Mike, we're going to have to do something about this parking lot, and we're going to need...'it's kinda like we're going to need a bigger boat...'let's get going.'"

Deputy Wallace started the soccer program three years ago. It's since grown to include almost 400 kids.

"He was the guy that was instrumental in getting everything going, getting the community motivated," said Deputy Wallace's sister, Renee Wallace Watson.

His mother said her son was actually a bigger football fan, but he recognized how more kids of all ages are able to play soccer. So, he embraced it for them.

"He just wanted all of them to succeed," said his mother, Nannette Wallace.

The impact the field will have on the next generation of Hughson is the memorial Dennis Wallace's family knows he would love.

"He would have been right in the middle of it, running around from one place to another," Mercedes Wallace said.

The suspect who killed Deputy Wallace, David Machado, was sent to a state hospital to restore his mental competency before he can return to face criminal charges in the deadly shooting.