Loved ones, colleagues say goodbye to San Joaquin County correctional sergeant

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TURLOCK, Calif. (KTXL) -- It was a solemn day for San Joaquin County officers as they said goodbye to one of their own.

San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cesar Fuentes’ brothers in blue, friends in service and his family paid their final respects on Wednesday.

“He was just a phenomenal person. He was very funny, a little tornado,” said Sgt. Fuentes’ sister, Marlene Larios.

His loved ones said he was a man who, by many accounts, was the epitome of what a true law enforcement officer embodies.

"Remember what he stood for, remember how he treated people. His kindness in his heart, along with his strength to stand up and fight for others," said San Joaquin County Sheriff Patrick Withrow.

Larios said it was clear from a young age that Fuentes would serve his community.

“Bought a little bullet keychain and hid it from my mom because he knew she would freak out. And from a young age, this was his calling,” she said.

Sgt. Fuentes had just finished his shift at the San Joaquin County Jail on Jan. 12 when tragedy struck. Sheriff Withrow said Fuentes was on his motorcycle when he collided with a pickup truck.

“Been a very solemn day but it’s been a joyous celebration of a good man’s life,” Withrow said.

Sgt. Fuentes was also a former Marine.

“Service member, doing his duty, just coming from a small town,” said friend and co-worker Deputy Daniel DeLashmutt. “He just had a big heart and felt that that was his calling.”

And as a final honor, Fuentes' casket was draped with an American flag. His friend said the flag was a big part of his military career and now it will remain a big part of his legacy.

“All those who passed in both Iraq and Afghanistan and always had an intention of doing something special with it,” DeLashmutt said.

As the procession made its way to his final resting place, Sgt. Fuentes loved ones said they will continue to share how he led his life.

“Just continuing to share his story, how he enlisted and served our country and believed in protecting,” Larios said.

The sergeant’s sister also said that he loved running, so whenever she runs, she thinks of him.

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