In parallel lines, their white-gloved hands gripping nothing but sorrow as they hung at their sides, the processional of the county’s law enforcement ranks stood at grim attention as the family of Deputy Quinnaland Rhodes funneled slowly into New Life Tabernacle by the Sea Saturday afternoon.
At the front, escorted by Undersheriff Joel Norred, Felicia “Vette”
The walls of the church were lined with attendees as the pews filled with people from throughout the county, wanting to help soothe the shock and grief born when a beloved officer dies at age 44, leaving behind a wife and seven children.
With full honors accorded a veteran of service both in the Navy and the lawman’s fraternity, Rhodes went to the heavenly home promised him by his Christian faith accompanied by the rare beauty of full-throated song and speech.
“He could be counted on to do his job,” said Norred, speaking on behalf of Sheriff Skip Shiver, unable to attend as he shared the last precious hours of his own father’s ebbing life on earth.
“Quinnaland is one of us, the brotherhood of law enforcement officers. He met all his assignments, whether he liked them or not, with a smile,” said Norred. “
Following the viewing, in which
Presiding was Bishop Horace Solomon, with the invocation provided by Pastor Gary Reed, of the
The Old Testament reading of Isaiah 41: verses 10 and 13, was offered by Elder Thomas Webb, himself a lieutenant with the sheriff’s office and an active pallbearer.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
The New Testament reading from Matthew 11, v. 28, was spoken by Elder James Pugh, also a sheriff’s deputy.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
The community choir, comprising the finest voices from throughout the many churches that dot
Following Norred’s remarks, Fonda Davis spoke on behalf of the Apalachicola Volunteer Fire Department, recalling how
“There will only be one Q,” said
Retired Sgt. Jim Watkins offered a lengthier, at time humorous, recollection of his days as
“He was my best friend,” he said. “He was one of the best partners anyone could ever ask for. We trusted each other.”
He told of his friend’s razor-sharp sense of humor. “He had a knack for saying things nobody else could,” said Watkins.
Watkins told of how the two were once out on an early-morning stakeout, when it became clear that bears could soon be finding their way to nearby garbage cans. Watkins asked his partner what he would do if a bear approached them.
“Just outrun you,” replied
Speaking to Rhodes’ reputation as an employee was
Monod talked of his colleague’s sharp mind, “quality of heart,” and “incredible work ethic.
“For Quinnaland, there were no problems, there were only solutions,” said Monod. “If everybody had his work ethic, there would be no crises in the world.”
Monod closed by reminding
Donna Duncan, choking back tears, read her remarks on behalf of the Apalachicola High School Class of 1988.
“Quinnaland always had a smile on his face,” she said. “He was one of the most beautiful, kind and loving flowers of all. We have lost you too soon.”
Her voice soft as fog on a chilly morning, soloist Angelita Stephens then sang
In the audience participation of the service, Eric Bryant, the arson investigator from the State Fire Marshal’s office who worked alongside Rhodes in investigating the May 2011 blaze at the
“You couldn’t ask for a better neighbor or a more wonderful friend,” she said.
The service came to a resounding finish with a fiery eulogy from Solomon, who praised
Solomon quoted extensively from the book of Daniel, in which the mysterious words “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin” are written on the wall, indicating that all of one’s deeds are weighed and counted in the eyes of heaven.
“Life goes by so fast we don’t know when the Lord is going to call us,” said the pastor. “Don’t wait ‘til the party’s over. We need to acknowledge God while we got the chance. Serve the Lord while you got a chance. Be good while you got a chance.”
With Sgt. Timothy Register, Sgt. Carlos Hill and Sgt. Anthony Croom joining Webb, Shiver and Nash as pallbearers, Rhodes’ casket was taken for burial at
There, flags from the casket were presented to
The Leon County Rifle team and Bugle Corps fired off a 21-gun salute, and played Taps, with representatives of the Tallahassee Fire Department playing bagpipes. A fellowship repast for friends followed at the Armory in downtown
The last poignant moment in
Renee Brannan, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said that when officers start their shifts, they are asked for different codes, such as a 10-86, for the start of their tour of duty, and 10-87, for its end.
“What the tradition is you come across the radio and call for that officer who is deceased. You call, and they don’t answer, and you call again, and they don’t answer,” she said.
“This is the last call for