Community begins to say goodbye to deputy, hero, husband, father

Clay County Detective David White killed Thursday evening during drug raid

Published On: Feb 19 2012 08:21:39 AM EST   Updated On: Feb 19 2012 02:43:00 PM EST
MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -

The 35-year-old Clay County Sheriff's Office detective killed will be honored Sunday and Monday by those who loved him and the community he served.

Clay County Sheriff's Office Detective David White died Thursday after a shootout at a Middleburg home.  Another detective was wounded in the exchange on gunfire and the suspect also was killed.

A viewing for White continues until 4 p.m. Sunday at the Russell Haven of Rest Funeral Home in Green Cove Springs.

The funeral will at 10 a.m. Monday at the First Baptist Church of Middleburg, followed by a burial at the Russell Haven of Rest Funeral Home.

While services are private, the public is invited to pay respects as the funeral procession travels from the church to the cemetery. The procession will travel north from the church on Blanding Boulevard, turning right on County Road 220, near Middleburg High School. The motorcade will travel east to County Road 209, where it will make another right on Sandridge Road and continue to the cemetery.

White was a nine-year veteran of the sheriff's office, as well as an Army veteran. He leaves behind a wife and two young children -- 3 months and 2 years old -- and a shocked community.

"He was just one of the finest officers and military men I've ever met," Sheriff Rick Beseler said Friday. "He was one of the, just, an unbelievably nice individual that we will sorely miss."

White's partner, Detective Matt Hanlin, who was shot in the arm when the two went through the front door of the suspected meth lab, continues to recover.  Doctors said Saturday he might be well enough to attend Monday's service.

White was a member of the Sheriff's Office honor guard, which now has the responsibility of serving at his funeral.

Businesses throughout Clay County have put up signs and tributes to White and offering to help the family in many ways. 

Park Avenue Florist has donated countless hours of  arranging flowers for his service, including red roses and orchids that will be placed on his casket and two sheriff's stars made out of carnations and cushions that will stand on either side.

The shop's cooler is filled with dozens of orders from around the county, state, and country -- people wanting to show their support to the Sheriff's Office and the family coping with this tragedy.

"Everyone stands together, whether it's good times or bad times," said Pam Wolbert with Park Avenue Florist said of her community. "Everybody comes together and does what we can to show the family sympathy and, hopefully, we don't have to do this anytime soon."

Dozens of other businesses displayed messages of support on their marquees, including the Chick-fil-a, where White was a regular customer.  The business also has signs to which customers can add their own tributes.

"It's sad that his family's left without a dad, or a husband, and we just wanted to do a little something," said restaurant manager Josh Patterson.

Gov. Rick Scott ordered flags lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday at the Clay County Sheriff's Office, the Clay County Courthouse and Green Cove Springs City Hall.

Donations to assist the family are being accepted at the Clay County Sheriff's Office Humanitarian Fund at the Heritage Bank in Orange Park, account No. 1520387212.