KELSO, Wash. (KOIN) — From fundraisers to benefit walks — community members across Cowlitz County are coming together following the death of Deputy Justin DeRosier.
The 29-year-old was killed late Saturday, the first deputy in the county’s 165 years to die in the line of duty. He leaves behind a wife and a 5-month-old daughter.
In the days that followed DeRosier’s death, the grieving community got to work.
To honor DeRosier and help his family, Red Leaf Organic Coffee set out donation jars at all its locations.
Lines stretched out the door at the coffee shop in Kelso on Wednesday as Red Leaf held a fundraiser, donating 20% of all proceeds to DeRosier’s family.
“Cowlitz County is very tight-knit and when something happens to one of us, it affects us all,” owner of Red Leaf Ray Vandervalk said.
In a Facebook post, the coffee shop said, “We are heartbroken over the news of the death of Justin DeRosier, a local sheriff’s deputy who was killed in the line of duty. His family is near and dear to us at Red Leaf and he leaves behind his wife and 5-month-old baby girl. Words can’t describe the heartache we feel, and we want to bless this dear family as they walk through this unimaginable time.”
According to Vandervalk, the town always comes together during tough times.
“When there’s a need and we can tell it’s a genuine need, the outpouring of support is absolutely unbelievable,” he said.
The fundraiser at Red Leaf, which started at 5 a.m. Wednesday, raised more than $4,200 by around 10:45 a.m. at just one of its locations in Kelso, according to Red Leaf General Manager Ann Lucas.
Lucas said customers came up from all over, including Portland and Washougal.
“The community has pulled together as a whole,” Lucas said. “This really isn’t about Red Leaf, it’s about what we can do for the family and that’s again just providing a platform for them to come in and help.”
Lucas said the company will keep the jars out through the end of April.
After hearing about Red Leaf’s fundraiser, Dutch Bros in Cowlitz County said they would also be donating 20% of their proceeds to the deputy’s family.
Long-time Kelso barber Bill Ammons — whose grandson went to high school with DeRosier — is organizing a walk in support of law enforcement and the fallen deputy.
“I think it’s very important for the community, it will bring us all together,” said Ammons. “We can have a nice walk, talk to each other and I’m looking forward to going myself.”
The walk and fundraiser will take place around 1 p.m. Saturday at Martin’s Dock at Lake Sacajawea in Longview.
A memorial service for DeRosier will take place April 24 at the Earle A. & Virginia H. Chiles Center at the University of Portland at 5000 North Willamette Boulevard. The service will start at 1 p.m.
A live video viewing will be held at New Life Church at 2441 42nd Avenue in Longview.