‘Oliver was a hero’: Agencies come together to honor officer who died of COVID-19

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Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 2:00 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Law enforcement officers from across the Big Sandy came together to honor one of their own as Oliver Little’s family prepares to lay him to rest.

Little’s friends and law enforcement family said he held them up and carried them through more times than they can count, so they wanted to do something to carry him forward one last time.

“You know, if you went on some sticky calls, he was the guy that’s going to take you home no matter what. He’s going to bring you home to your family,” said Deputy Justin Szymchack.

Deputies from the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department carried Little’s body to the hearse Friday before a memorial motorcade made its way through the mountains to head toward his new resting place.

“That’s part of his personality is that something that we all respected. Oliver wanted to take the lead on stuff and he wanted to guide people and make sure that everyone went home safely,” said Deputy Kevin Thacker.

Agencies from Pike and Floyd counties joined together Friday to escort Officer Little from Pikeville to Martin, passing through displays in his honor along the way.

The Floyd County Sheriff’s Department, Pikeville PD, Prestonsburg PD, Kentucky State Police, Coal Run PD and FD, Betsy Layne Fire Department and Prestonsburg FD all joined in to honor the man who served the mountains in several capacities over the last couple of decades. A showing of comradery that officers say is all about the unbreakable bond built between the men and women in uniform.

“Anytime you lose a police officer, it doesn’t matter if it’s local or in California, the country’s lost the officer- not just the community,” said Pikeville PD Officer Tony Conn.

Thacker said the smile Little always shared with everyone he encountered was surely shining bright as the procession of police made its way through.

“We are all honored to do it and we’ve all laughed and joked that, you know, Oliver would just love this. He would eat this up. He would have that big smile on his face,” said Thacker.

Little’s FCSD cruiser sits outside of the Floyd County Courthouse, adorned with tributes and memorials from community members who have spent the last couple of days remembering the man and public servant he was.

“His legacy will be the kindness. He cared about his family officers first and foremost,” said Deputy William Petry.

“Oliver was a hero and a brother to everybody he came in contact with,” said Szymchack.

He was taken to Hall Funeral Home in Martin where services are expected to be held this weekend before his funeral is held in Allen Monday.

You can read his obituary here.

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