STUART, Fla. — Martin County deputies are mourning the loss of one of their own.
Sgt. Richard Parks, 54, was laid to rest Thursday after passing away unexpectedly on March 27 while vacationing in central Florida.
"I've always looked up to him and just seeing what kind of great guy he was and how he treats everybody," said Sgt. Anthony Blachowski, who knew Parks for eight years.
Parks was a 23-year veteran with the Martin County Sheriff's Office.
Prior to joining the sheriff's office, Parks was a Port St. Lucie police officer and served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
"I looked up to him my entire career," said Cpl. Kenneth Youngblood, who knew Parks for 21 years. "He's a cop's cop. He's going to be missed. There's some very big boots to fill there."
"Honestly, you always felt his presence," said Blachowski. "You always knew he was in the room. He was always smiling, always laughing."
His brothers in uniform said his heart touched many around the sheriff's office.
"He's been an instructor," said Blachowski. "He's been in traffic. He's been on road patrol."
"There is a lot of good times to be had with him," said Youngblood. "He had such a huge smile and an unforgettable laugh that I'll never forget. That's one thing I'll keep with me."