Following the death of Capt. Rickey Wheeler, the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office has expressed gratitude for the assistance and support received from area law enforcement agencies as the department mourned its longtime officer last weekend.
Wheeler, a 25-year veteran of the GCSO, died last week after losing his nearly yearlong battle with cancer. A visitation was held for Wheeler on Friday evening and his funeral was held at First Baptist Church of Sherman on Saturday afternoon. Sheriff Tom Watt said virtually every police department, law enforcement agency and dispatch center in Grayson County offered to assist with the ceremonies and field reports so that deputies could pay their respects to Wheeler.
“Basically, all the PDs in Grayson County indicated that they would catch our calls for us,” Watt said. “That allowed all the deputies here that wanted to attend to be able to attend. Along with that, comes the dispatch centers around Grayson County all pitching in. Whatever we needed, they pitched in. That made it so much easier for us to tend to what we really had to tend to that day.”
In his many years with the sheriff’s office, Wheeler served numerous roles, including K-9 unit handler, criminal investigator, narcotics officer, media liaison and administrator. Wheeler received his diagnoses in February, after doctors discovered cancerous masses in his head and neck. He began treatment in March and underwent nine weeks of chemotherapy and 35 consecutive days of radiation therapy. Despite undergoing additional immunotherapies, Wheeler’s cancer ultimately progressed to Stage 4 and spread to his bones. The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office announced news of Wheeler’s death on Dec. 13.
“He worked in so many different areas of the agency that when an issue came up, he could really speak to just about any part of the organization,” Wheeler said. “When you lose a person and a piece of the puzzle like that, it’s really tough on everybody.”
Watt said the department intends to commemorate Wheeler and his accomplishments in the weeks ahead, but for now GSCO staff are still processing the loss of their colleague and friend.
“I think we’re still trying to get over the setback,” Watt said. “When we have time to more clearly reflect on how we want to do that, we will. Right now, it’s just one foot in front of the other, breathe in and breathe out. We’ll figure out how to pay tribute to him in the coming weeks.”
Watt thanked multiple agencies for their assistance, including the Sherman and Denison police departments, the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens. The sheriff said the outpouring of support spoke volumes about Wheeler’s character and the impact he had on others.
“It made us feel very thankful that we have good partners throughout the Grayson County law enforcement community,” Watt said. “And I think it’s very clear that Rickey earned and enjoyed a lot of respect and love around Grayson County.”
A GoFundMe page has been established in Wheeler’s name, with all donations benefiting his family. Wheeler is survived by his wife, Laura, and their two young sons.