ZIONSVILLE, Ind. - Thousands of luminaries line Heritage Park Trail in Zionsville in a touching tribute to fallen Boone County Deputy Jacob Pickett.
The notes, messages and community members who showed up made clear the impact Deputy Pickett has left on the community.
"He was a wonderful, wonderful son, husband, father and you know he paid the ultimate price so that we could be here doing this for him and for his family," Elizabeth Davidson said.
"I feel like it's just a little thing we can do to show how important he was to us, to give back," Julie Martin said.
Organizers said the luminary walk started as a plan to decorate a driveway but quickly grew into a community wide effort. The luminaries lining the park trail were decorated with pictures and notes of thanks and remembrance to Deputy Pickett, many made by children.
"I think this is just a way for the community to feel like they're doing something and contribute," organizer Kristen Kelley said.
Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen and Deputy Pickett's K9, Brik, were among those who stopped by to take in the sight.
"It's just a testimony to the way Jake lived his life and led his life," Sheriff Nielson said. "And he led his life by faith and he led his life with his K9 and he loved kids and he was in the middle of making sure that we had the best K9 team in the county, so he was a leader, he led from the front and it shows by the outstanding support we've seen here."
Among those walking alongside the sheriff's office includes a police department who knows the sheriff's office's pain first hand, Southport police. They lost Lt. Aaron Allan in the line of duty in July.
"I still haven't found the right words for it, I mean it's literally like somebody turned your world upside down," Southport Police Chief Tom Vaughn said.
Vaughn said they work to honor Lt. Allan each day, and still receive community support. But only months after his death, they're also trying to be a source of support for the Boone County Sheriff's Office. He said they've visited the hospital, took part in the escort, have talked with deputies and are simply being there.
"Your world's turned upside down and then you're, it didn't happen to our department this time but you know what that department's going through. So then you sit down and what can we do to try to help in any way that we can. Kind of we were talking earlier you feel lost. You can't fix it. You can't, you know everything you do seems to be wrong," Vaughn said. "So our attitude this time is we'll be there for them, answer some of those questions if we can, if not it's just having somebody who's been through it sitting next to you and being able to talk about it."
Vaughn said one of their officers will be carrying the thin blue line flag when Deputy Pickett is brought to the cemetery. He said they're also having officers sign a flag that will eventually be given to the Boone County Sheriff's Office.
With each step, each blue light, each note and each candle flickering on the trail, though, Deputy Pickett's impact is clear to see.