Chick-fil-A Pays Tribute to Fallen Deputy
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Deputy First Class Norm Lewis loved Chick-fil-A, so much so that he visited one of the local restaurants on University Boulevard once or twice a week for years, reported Fox35 Orlando.
The 11-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and motor deputy died following a collision while helping hunt down a man suspected of killing Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, an officer with the Orlando Police Department.
His death devastated many people, including staff at his favorite Chick-fil-A, where it hit them extremely hard. To honor a man they call their friend, they have pulled a play from military decorum by creating the “Missing Man Table.”
The tribute from the business is a class act.
“I turned on the TV, and I couldn’t believe it. I just started balling,” said Beth Ivey, a restaurant employee. “I can’t believe I won’t see him ever again. It doesn’t seem real.”
Lewis, 35, also frequented the RaceTrac store on University Boulevard, near his alma mater, University of Central Florida, once or twice, every week. Danielle Giaquinto was working there most of the time. She said she and other workers looked forward to seeing Lewis, his smile and the big bear hugs he gave.
It sounds like Lewis was effective in the area of community policing.
“I still can’t even believe it,” said Giaquinto, wiping away tears. “I immediately had a panic attack, because everyone knows how close I am to him.”
She fondly recalled her visits with her friend, whether he was on or off duty.
“He’d come in in his uniform, and I’d poke his sides to try to make sure there were no vulnerable spots. I wanted to make sure he was safe.”
She said the grief of losing Lewis is unbearable.
“I still can’t even believe it,” she said. “I’m not gonna be able to get, or give him another hug.”
Not only was Lewis a graduate of UCF, he played football for the Knights as well.
The funeral service for the big man with a bigger heart will be held Friday at First Baptist Church of Orlando, 3000 S. John Young Parkway.
Meanwhile, the man who investigators said shot and killed Clayton, and led to the death of Lewis, remains at large.
Law enforcement officers are now turning their attention to anyone who may be helping Markeith Loyd, reported WFTV. “We will come after those who are harboring him,” said Orlando Police Chief John Mina.
Law enforcement has raised the reward to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of Loyd.
(Feature image is file photo)