CARTHAGE, Texas — Those who swear an oath to protect and serve are charged with an awesome responsibility. Those who take that responsibility to heart are nothing less than heroes.
Behind the badge though, is a son or daughter, husband or wife, father or mother. Deputy Chris Dickerson represented all of the qualities of a person.
Deputy Dickerson dedicated his life to service.
Born in January 1991, Dickerson was a 2009 graduate of Carthage High School. During his senior year in 2008, he helped lead the Bulldogs to a state championship over Celina.
Upon graduation, Dickerson joined the United States Army, serving as an avionic technician. Specifically, Dickerson's job was to ensure the Army's fleet of planes and aviation equipment were safe for use.
Dickerson left the Army, full time, to receive training in the Texas Army National Guard. However, Dickerson's true goal in life, outside of his family, was to serve the community he loved so much in Panola County.
After graduating from the police academy, he was sworn in as a Panola County deputy in 2015.
In December 2017, he was hailed as a hero for helping to save a woman and her dog from a burning home.
Dickerson and Deputy Callahan Malone banged on the door, knowing the woman was inside.
"We're gonna get her, hold on," Dickerson said, as he and Malone entered the burning home through a window.
As he felt around the smoke-filled house, he found the woman, who was pinned down by a 90-pound pitbull mix, seemingly protecting its owner. Dickerson and Malone lifted the dog from the woman and passed it out the window.
Then, Dickerson and Malone picked up the woman and carried her outside.
"Any amount of time longer it probably could've been too bad to where we either -- us ourselves would've been injured or we would've had to abort," Dickerson told KTBS in 2017.
For their actions, Dickerson and Malone were named of the Sheriff's Deputies of the Year in 2018.
Through all his service to the community, Dickerson kept family first.
Shortly after joining the U.S. Army, Dickerson married his high school sweetheart, Krista (Edge) Dickerson, in 2010.
In 2012, the couple had their first daughter. They brought a second daughter into the world last year.
On social media, friends and family remembered Dickerson as a warm and loving husband and father who went above and beyond the call of the family man. While he was dedicated to his job, he remained active in his children's lives.
In November, Dickerson posted on Facebook:
"It can be hard at times but you have to make the time happen for your kids sake!!!! And not just theirs but for yourself as well, nothing puts a bigger smile on my face then seeing my girls with a smile on theirs!!!
I LOVE MY GIRLS!!!!!!!!!"
While serving as a deputy, Dickerson also was a coach of his eldest daughter's softball team: Elite Carthage. This year, the team won the FASA Class C World Series in Arkansas. His daughter was honored as an outstanding catcher.
There are many definitions to the word hero. No matter which one applies, Deputy Dickerson, no doubt, met the criteria. He selflessly served his country and community with honor. He set a positive example for those around him. Most importantly, he dedicated much of his life to his young family, who he loved unconditionally.
Thank you Deputy Dickerson for your service to all.