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Alpha volunteers line Highway 150 with blue ribbons to honor fallen Deputy Weist

Dozens of volunteers tied blue ribbons Monday along the stretch of road where the deputy died.

ALPHA, Ill. — The Village of Alpha, Illinois, is feeling blue.

"It gets easier as time goes by, but we'll never forget it," Mason Magee said.

Dozens of volunteers gathered  Monday afternoon, May 2 at Gazebo Park in Alpha to tie blue ribbons on posts along U.S. Highway 150. Just south of town is where Knox County Deputy Nick Weist was struck and killed while assisting with a police chase Friday morning, April 29.

For Magee, the community in Alpha is family.

"My wife was actually home, and she called me and asked what was going on, 'cause there were cop cars everywhere," Magee said.

Just a half-mile south of town, Magee was there at the scene near Illinois Route 17 just after 8 a.m. Friday.

"That's the first time I've ever heard that come over the radio, and I've been on different fire departments for 10 years," Magee said about hearing the call for an officer down.

Lindi Kernan is one of the people who organized the ribbon-tying event. She said the fact this could happen so close to her home is surreal.

"Whoever comes through our town, whether it be his family, his community, whoever it is, we want them to know this community appreciates what he did, and what they all do every day," Kernan said.

That's why the entire group turned the community blue.

RELATED: How QC community is stepping up in support of fallen Knox County Sheriff's deputy

"Who knows what would have happened if that guy got to town," Magee said.

It was a scary moment for Magee.

"My kids go to that school," Magee said, "and they were outside."

On Monday, a memorial was set up at the crash site with a cross, flowers and blue ribbons surrounding it all.

"It's just a constant reminder that someone made a sacrifice for our town," Magee said.

It was a sacrifice that allows everyone in town to embrace the blue.

"He saved our town," Magee said.

In addition to the ribbons, a coffee shop in Alpha will be donating all its tips on Saturday to the Weist family.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. on May 7 at Galesburg High School.

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