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Funeral services held for slain Clark County Sheriff's deputy

Deputy Matthew Yates’ funeral service at First Christian Church on Monday afternoon.
Garrett Reese
Deputy Matthew Yates’ funeral service at First Christian Church on Monday afternoon.

Friends and family Monday said goodbye to Deputy Matthew Yates, who was shot and killed last Saturday. His funeral service was held at the First Christian Church in Springfield, and members of the community came out in droves to pay their respects.

The parking lot of the First Christian Church was overflowing with people wishing to pay their respects. There were so many people that the church began putting people in the church’s gym and fellowship room to listen to the service. Even in the main room of the church where the casket was, it was standing room only, with every seat filled and people lining the back wall.

Tears were shed and laughter was shared as attendees told stories about Yates: about how for a big man he was surprisingly good at shooting 3-point shots in basketball; how his sergeants would cringe whenever he had to say something over the radio, never knowing what was going to come out of his mouth; and how he loved to roughhouse and wrestle, but always took time to ask “You good?” when the fighting was finished.

Most of all, they came to remember a man they all loved and who touched their lives, both in and out of uniform.

“He rescued us,” Anthony Reed, Yate’s stepson, said about his stepfather who married into the family when Reed was 8 and his brother 4. “He fixed our broken family and made us a full family. But full is an understatement when you realize just how many siblings and cousins he had in this town.”

“Matt. Words cannot describe how sad I am that you are gone,” John Loney, a deputy with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and close friend of Yates, said. “The thought of not being able to call you to talk about your day or just our normal chats. That big grin from behind asking me, ‘you good?’ will forever leave me feeling empty. Matt. So long, my friend. Until I see you again. Rest in peace, brother. I love you.”

After the service, the community prepared to say its last goodbye. People lined the road outside the church, waving American flags. On an overpass above State Route 334, two fire trucks displayed a giant American flag flying from their ladders, which were fully extended.

Yates was buried at Ferncliff Cemetery.

Garrett is a WYSO intern and graduate of University of Dayton. He spent time covering the Dayton area with WDTN Channel 2 News after the 2019 Memorial Day Tornado outbreak. It was around this time that he began listening to NPR and fell in love with radio-based journalism. Garrett graduated from UD in May of 2021 with his Bachelor’s in Communications with a focus in journalism and graduated in May of 2022 with his Master’s. While not working at WYSO, Garrett is an avid reader, loves to play video games, and hanging out with his friends.