KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Loudon County community and law enforcement from across the region will come together Wednesday for a memorial service and celebration of life in honor of Chris Jenkins, the longtime sheriff’s office deputy who was killed in the line of duty. The memorial can be viewed live on WATE 6 and a livestream of the service will be embedded in this story. A separate livestream will be shared from the procession following the service.
Loudon County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jenkins was killed on the morning of Feb. 3 when he was struck by a semi-truck while removing debris from the road on Interstate 75. Two people have been charged in connection to his death.
A public memorial service and celebration will be held at 1 p.m. at Loudon High School. The service will be followed by a procession that will pass by the Loudon County Justice Center before an interment service at Loudon County Memorial Gardens in Lenoir City.
A program lists the following order of events at the memorial service:
- Song tribute: ‘Show Me Around’ by Carly Pearce
- Welcome and Remarks: Sgt. Matt Fagiana, LCSO
- Opening prayer: Josh Gereitz, Pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church
- Video presentation of the life of Chris Jenkins: ‘Lead Me Home’ by Jamey Johnson
- Statement from the governor of Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee
- Remarks: Sgt. Chris Hutchens, LCSO
- Song tribute: ‘Go Rest High on that Mountain’ performed by Cody Shuler
- Remarks: Paul Curtis, Chad Dotson, Rodney Smallen, Jason Lorenz, Jay Easter
- Song tribute: ‘Stroll Over Heaven’ performed by Cody Shuler
- Tribute and remarks: Sheriff Tim Guider, LCSO
- Song Tribute: ‘My Old Man’ by Zac Brown Band
- Reflection: Deputy Clay Jenkins, LCSO (Son of Sgt. Chris Jenkins)
- Closing prayer: Chaplain David Choate, LCSO
- Dismissal and instructions for graveside services: Sgt. Matt Fagiana, LCSO
- Recessional: ‘Long White Line’ by Sturgill Simpson
The public is asked to line Mulberry Street in the area of downtown Loudon as well as the Lee Highway Bridge over the Tennessee River. Loudon County schools will be closed Wednesday due to road closures related to a memorial procession.
“It’s a tragic day no doubt about it and Chris will be very very much so missed,” Loudon County Mayor Buddy Bradshaw told WATE, whose relationship with Jenkins dated back 40 years.
Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider was hardly able to speak at a press conference announcing Jenkins’ tragic death.
“It’s something that nobody ever wants to go through,” the sheriff said through tears.
Jenkins has served the residents of Loudon County since 2002, when he worked as a corrections officer. He was promoted to patrol in 2003, and became a K-9 handler in 2007. Jenkins earned Patrol Supervisor of the Year in 2017. He was promoted to corporal in 2018, and promoted again in 2019 to sergeant.
Jenkins has worked with Loudon County’s K-9 unit. In August 2019, he spoke about the loss of LCPD K-9 officer Dagger, and in 2017 Jenkins spoke when retired K-9 officer Diego died. Jenkins was also vocal about protecting K-9 officers in the field.
Jenkins is not the only member of his family to serve in the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office. His son, Clay, is a current Loudon County deputy.
His cousin, deputy Jason Scott, was shot and killed in March 2004 when he was responding to a domestic disturbance call.
By order of Gov. Bill Lee, flags over the State Capitol Building in Nashville as well as those located in Loudon County are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, Feb. 9, in Jenkins’ honor.