HUGHSON -- The blue weathered bows in honor of slain Deputy Dennis Wallace still cling to the trees of Fox Grove Park in Hughson, but what’s not here has alarmed loved ones.
One memorial had been standing at the entrance of Fox Grove since Deputy Wallace was killed in the line of duty last year.
“I hope that it wasn’t stolen. I hope it wasn’t anything malicious," Deanna Perry, a friend of Wallace's, told FOX40. "Maybe it can appear again or someone else can resurrect another one for him.”
It was one year ago to the day that Wallace, a deeply respected Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy, was murdered while on patrol. Friends say there’s been a void in the Hughson community since he was killed.
“Way I see it, he always went out of his way to go out and talk to people,” Hughson Fire Chief Scott Berner said.
The cross at Fox Grove was a reminder of the great man who protected this community and when it was reduced to a wooden stump on Saturday, some had thought it was another mark of disrespect after Wallace’s memorial at the Hughson soccer field was defaced last month.
Hughson city officials tell FOX40 they believe mother nature is responsible.
However, one man has stepped up.
Mark Smith says he saw that the post was taken down and took it upon himself to build a new cross for Deputy Wallace.
"I’m no one special, just a fellow officer doing what the thin blue line does and that’s bond together as we are a family," Smith said.
The gesture has mended broken hearts.
“It’s awesome, and that’s what we love about our community. When someone’s down there’s always someone else, maybe when you least expect it or don’t expect that person at all," Perry said.
A memorial gathering for Wallace Monday evening included a prayer a balloon release.