When Sheriff Mike Cross ran for election in 2010, Scott County was battling a major methamphetamine problem and he was determined to do something about it. That's when Scott County Trustee Jimmy D. Byrd says the sheriff created a monthly prayer vigil for the county, an enduring tradition that Byrd says he hopes will continue long after Cross' death.
Cross passed away Sunday at the age of 56, after a being diagnosed with cancer. The flags in Scott County rested at half staff Monday in remembrance of a man who Byrd says tried to lift their county up.
"We had a lot to pray about in Scott County and this was troubling Sheriff Cross," said Byrd. He said there was one month in 2011 where they buried nine citizens due to meth.
"It was bothering him and he said we've got to do something to get this done and he said God is the only one I know to turn to," said Byrd.
Three hundred and fifty people showed up to that first vigil in August 2011. 10News interviewed the sheriff at the event.
"We tend to look to government for our solutions, but a lot of people, including myself, don't think government can solve these problems," said Cross in that interview.
Byrd says the he believes Cross' leadership helped ease suffering in the county.
"Miracles on top of miracles happened the first time that we had the county-wide prayer," said Byrd.
And he says they haven't missed a month since then and are scheduled to hold another vigil Tuesday evening.
The Cross family will be accepting friends on Thursday, Dec. 12 from 4:00 until 9:00 p.m. at the White Rock Baptist Church in Huntsville, Tenn.
A funeral service will be conducted on Friday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. at the same church with burial to follow in the Fairview Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, the Cross family is requesting donations be made to:
F.O.P. Shop with a Cop
Big South Fork Lodge #86
P.O. Box 121
Huntsville, TN 37756