KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Of all the things Deputy David Cook will be remembered for, Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young said it’ll be his kindness.
Throughout Cook’s 21-year career with the department, he earned many accolades and honors, she said. However, it was the Thank You cards he received that showed his heart. She read one during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon about the time he pulled someone over, gave that person a sobriety test, and it led to that person changing his or her life around.
“'At some point you kindly gave me a card and circled a phone number on it to [Alcoholics Anonymous],'” Sheriff LaJoye-Young read. “'When I got home the next morning, the first call I made was to AA and I have been regularly attending meetings ever since. Officer Cook, your act of kindness changed my life. As I attended meetings, I learned that I was indeed very lucky.'”
Sheriff LaJoye-Young said there were many cards like that one.
Sadly on Monday, Deputy Cook passed away from complications with COVID. Sheriff LaJoye-Young said there isn’t much she could say about his health or vaccination status prior to his passing. However, she said his kindness will be his lasting legacy.
READ MORE: Kent County deputy passes away from COVID-19 complications
“Dave was an amazing family man. We all have our rough days. No matter what we do. And with Dave he was like everybody else,” said friend and co-worker Deputy Tim Erhardt. “You could always get Dave out of a funk if you ask him to tell us about his girls. He would light up and his day was changed.”
Erhardt said Cook loved his family, often bragging about his dad and his brother, who worked at the department as well.
Now, the family is making funeral arrangements. After he passed at Spectrum on Monday, he was honored with a processional all the way from the hospital to Pederson Funeral Home.
“Dave was my brother. Dave was my friend,” Deputy Erhardt said with tears in his eyes. “I’m going to miss him.”