Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy honored by hometown 3 years after death

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Student, coach, and trustee: that's who Rod Lucas was to his hometown of Tranquillity.

"Rod is now forever memorialized with this stone," says Sal Parra Jr., the School Board President at Tranquility High School. "His leadership, his passion, and his love are right here."

The small westside town wasn't just the place he was rooted, but it was also where he first patrolled as a deputy sheriff. It was also the city he was determined to return to after he graduated from high school.

"But what he did after that is what made him so special," says Margaret Mims, a Fresno County Sheriff. "He came back. He came back to give back. He came back to serve and to coach and to lead."

Lucas, a former football player and wrestler, spent years mentoring students at the school. His legacy didn't end after his death.

Monday, the entire student body at Tranquillity watched the unveiling as it was live-streamed into their classrooms.

The monument includes an inspirational poem Lucas wrote titled 'One Percent.'

Lucas's widow hopes each person who passes it will ponder its words.

"I'm just glad they are going to get to see the poem that he wrote and hopefully it speaks to them," says Jami Lucas. "I hope it makes them want to be better people."

The cost of the memorial was more than $10,000, but the permanent reminder is priceless because of who it represents: a man passionate to serve and leave the world a better place.

"It's just an honor that the community where my husband grew up would want to do this for him because they know that he was an amazing man," Jami said.
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