Reagan County Group To Host Events For Local, State Fallen Heroes

Reagan County Group To Host Events For Local, State Fallen Heroes

Anum Valliani
NewsWest 9

REAGAN COUNTY - A husband, a son, a brother; former deputy Josh Mitchell was all of those things until he was killed in the line of duty.

"This community just opened its heart. When we lost Josh, it was all of us that grieved. I mean I don't think there was really anybody that wasn't affected by this event," Reagan County Sheriff, Jeff Garner, said.

That definitely includes Trooper Russell Weatherby, who worked alongside Mitchell as shift partners.

"I probably spent more time with him than with my own family," he said.

Mitchell was very active in the community, like through the DARE program on drug education as well as other programs. According to Weatherby, he touched people in different ways.

"He could take someone to jail and then a day later, he could be talking to them in a grocery store like nothing was ever wrong. He could take you to jail and still be your friend," Mitchell said.

Then on August 1, 2012, Mitchell's life was cut short. But the Josh Mitchell Remembrance Association is making sure he's not forgotten by hosting some events in his memory.

"I just want to make sure ten years down the road, twenty years down the road, thirty years down the road, people know and understand what happened, to know who Josh was and remember what he did for the community," Weatherby said.

Mitchell was fatally shot in the 1100 block of Plaza Avenue. The location marks the starting point of an 18.5 mile trek that will be held in his honor.

"You can run, bike, walk, ride your 4-wheeler, however you want to honor Josh in whatever way you want to from where he was shot to [Stiles Cemetery] where he was laid to rest," Weatherby said.

In addition, the JMRA is hosting a banquet to honor Mitchell along with the couple of fallen officers from Upton County and the 24 total lost in the state between 2012 and 2013.

According to Garner, they've sent out invitations to everyone that was there for them in the time of Mitchell's death to appreciate their help. That includes the Austin Police Department who he said they've formed a connection with after the recent losses locally.

The event is for all law enforcement agents in the area and organizers especially hope the community comes out.

"I think he would have been very, very proud to know that he meant so much to so many people that they would step up and do so much in honor of him. We are a family so you just stick together," Cindy Mitchell, Josh's mom, said.

The trek, along with a 5K and children's run, will take place August second. The First Responder Appreciation Banquet will be held on the August ninth at the Reagan County Community Center beginning at 5:30 p.m. There will be a catered dinner, raffle and prizes. For information on how to buy tickets contact (325) 650-3095 or Wendy Pool at (325) 226-8367.