NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Communities across the DFW Metroplex lost several longtime public servants to illnesses related to COVID-19 this week.

Denton County Chief Deputy Constable Wayne Rhodes was an integral part of the Precinct 2 Constable’s office.

Precinct 2 Chief Deputy Constable M. Wayne Rhodes (credit: Denton County)

“His death has just rocked our office,” said Constable Michael Truitt. “Matter of fact, it’s rocked the county. He was so well-loved.”

Decatur Judge Melton Cude passed away on Nov. 29. He served for decades as the Wise County Court of Law Place 1 Judge.

Wise County Judge Melton Cude (courtesy: co.wise.tx.us)

“He was a true Decatur devotee,” said Gerre Joiner, a minister at Cude’s church, First Baptist in Decatur.

The City of Grand Prairie’s Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Jim Swafford died from complications of the virus.

Grand Prairie Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Jim Swafford (credit: City of Grand Prairie)

“Jim was a special person,” said Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen.

Collin County Detention Officer Joseph Quillen, Jr. was also a victim of COVID-19.

Officer Joseph Quillen, Jr. (credit: Collin County Sheriff’s Office)

“It’s getting harder and harder to find a family that hasn’t been affected by it,” Joiner said.

All of the men were described as dedicated public servants.

“We’re out there serving the public,” said Constable Truitt. “We try to take every precaution we can… but we have more contact than a lot of other people do because of the job we do.”

Their respective communities are losing decades of experience in law enforcement and local politics.

Their friends and families are losing even more.

“I’ll miss sitting next to him in the choir,” Joiner said of Judge Cude. “Good man.”

These deaths are another stark reminder the pandemic is far from over.

“In the last five days, I’ve lost five people that I’ve known for years to COVID,” Constable Truitt said. “It’s a horrible virus.”

Those left behind are pleading for people to continue to take it seriously.

“I’m just a little disappointed and a little angry at people who still yet don’t think wearing a mask is important,” said Mayor Jensen.

They ask the community to “do the things that will reduce the spread of this stuff” in memory of these men, who devoted their lives to helping others.

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