Department Strives To Honor Fulco’s Legacy
WATER VALLEY – Almost a month has passed since Sheriff Mark D. Fulco died, but he is not forgotten, especially by the men and women who worked with him at the sheriff’s department. Sheriff Jerimaine Gooch, who was appointed to succeed Fulco last month, is confident that his former boss would be proud of the work that continues at the department he loved.
“He gave his life for this county. He worked day and night serving the citizens of this county. He worked to build strong partnerships with all of our neighboring departments. That is his legacy, and that is what the men and women at this department remember every day when they put their uniforms on,” Gooch explained.
Gooch and Chief Deputy Thomas West are also confident that Fulco would have been proud to see the outpouring of support in the days after his death – both from law enforcement officers across the county and state and from the citizens in the county that Mark loved. The agencies who helped with the sea of blue as Fulco’s body was brought back to the county and during the escort to his final resting place in Nettleton are too numerous to list.
“We can’t thank these agencies enough,” West reported as he attempted to name a few – sheriff departments from Desoto, Tate, Panola, Tallahatchie, Lafayette, Hinds, Bolivar, Lee, Grenada, Pontotoc, Calhoun and others along with police and fire departments from more than a dozen counties.
“And especially the City of Water Valley. I would like to thank Chief Jason Mangrum for everything they did. Without him, we wouldn’t have made it. He put his guys out in the county answering calls, anything we needed, he was there,” Gooch said. “He came to us and said ‘y’all worry about taking care of the sheriff. We will take care of the calls.’ His department set up the escorts, they took care of all of the details.”
“And I have to add that Jason Mangrum, out of his own pocket, paid for the entire sheriff department’s lunch the day of the funeral. I mean every jailer, dispatcher and deputy who attended the funeral,” West said.
The support signals a couple of things for West and Gooch – the strong bond that brothers and sisters in blue share, which is no secret among lawmen; but more importantly the respect Fulco had earned for his department.
Gooch reported that his desire is to continue Fulco’s legacy.
“It was a rough few weeks, but we had no choice but to keep doing our job. And everybody has stepped up and is doing just that,” Gooch added. “I am proud of this department.
“We want to continue working with the kids in the community. We want to continue having community gatherings,” West said. “Mark loved giving back to the community and we want to honor that.”