Halifax Co, VA - Halifax County is mourning the death of a beloved member of the law enforcement community.
Lieutenant Steve Cassada with the Sheriff's Office passed away on Saturday. His colleagues say he lost consciousness while eating at a restaurant with his family.
Lt. Cassada served as a mentor for young deputies during his 34 years of service. Deputies say he was a friend to everyone he met. Those he leaves behind hope to maintain his legacy of service.
People who knew Lt. Steve Cassada describe him as a peace keeper, who used his gentle nature and warm heart to diffuse any situation.
"We called him the Reverend because he was a calming influence. He could do more with words than anybody else could do with their actions," said Halifax County Sheriff's Office Deputy Mike Hatcher.
Having worked with six different sheriffs during his time in the office, Cassada had a chance to see many people come and go. He left a lasting impression on each officer who had the pleasure of working with him.
"I'm a relative newbie, but I've known him for several years. With Steve, once you met him, you felt like you knew him for a lifetime," Hatcher said.
Family friend Charles Anderson says Cassada's wife and three adult children are devastated by his death.
"Steve was the type of person that he loved everybody, even loved the people he arrested. He was just that type of individual," Anderson said. "I Spent about 3 hours with the family yesterday and just can't believe that Steve's not going to walk in."
"He was dedicated to serving the citizens of Halifax County," said Halifax County Sheriff Fred Clark.
Clark says the loss of his colleague and friend will leave a permanent void in the department.
"Lieutenant Cassada will never be replaced. We're going to miss him so much. Just rest in peace, brother Steve," Sheriff Clark said.
Lieutenant Cassada was 59 years old. His funeral will be held Tuesday, January 8 at 3 p.m. at the Dan River Baptist Church in Halifax.
Donations in Cassada's honor can be made to the Halifax County Humane Society.