PINE BLUFF, Ark. — The Jefferson County community is mourning the loss of their former Sheriff Edward Lewis “Boe” Fontaine.
He died this weekend during his fight against the coronavirus. Monday people are paying tribute to his legacy and the work he did.
“He made the sheriffs office a better place,” Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr. said.
People within the department are calling hun a true trailblazer. He spent more than 25 years at the Jefferson County Sheriffs Department and had a huge impact on the community.
“He was the sheriff for Jefferson County citizens, it didn’t matter who you were, no matter how old you were or what color you were… he was there,” Woods said.
It’s a testament of the dedication Sheriff Fontaine had to his job and his community.
“He was a very humble man,” Woods said. “He was a leader.”
Woods said the 80-year-old lost his battle with COVID-19 on Sunday.
“I’m still in shock that he’s no longer here, but I can say he certainly left his mark with every member that knew him in this agency and across the state,” Woods said.
Fontaine started his journey with the sheriffs office in 1980 as a deputy in the uniformed Patrol Division.
“He gave me my start, he saw something no one else saw in me and he’s was willing to give me that opportunity at a time where there weren’t a whole lot of minorities in law enforcement,” Woods said.
He quickly rose through the ranks and was elected the 30th Jefferson County Sheriff. He served his community from 1999-2006.
Before that he served as a U.S. Marine and received 4 Purple Heart awards from the military. Woods said he had a lot of awards proving his dedication to servicing his hometown area.
“Sometimes i think about everything he did, it’s hard to formulate the words because he was involved in so much,” Woods said. “He’s allowed for the creation of what we see today.”
The sheriffs department plans to do more to honor Fontaine. He leaves behind a wife and daughter.