OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — New Year’s Eve 2022 marks one week since an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Deputy was killed on the job. Corporal Ray Hamilton was shot and killed responding to a domestic violence call on Christmas Eve. Hundreds came to Destin to celebrate the young deputy’s meaningful life.

To the many people packing the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Convention Center Saturday, Corporal Ray Hamilton was perhaps all anyone could want in a husband and a lawman. Someone with a sense of duty.

“’It’s Christmas Eve and I’m not going”’ he wouldn’t do that, Ray didn’t give an excuse he said, ‘here I am, send me,'” said Captain Kevin Kirkpatrick.

With that sense of service also came a sense of humor.

“He’d look at me with a big smile and say ‘Do you know how much I look up to you sarge,’ and I’d say ‘What did you do now Ray?'” said Sergeant Joe Trimboli to chuckles from the audience.

His name was “Ray” and friends say he was also a ray of light and hope to everyone around him.

“He was the most beautiful person I’ve ever encountered, he had the fullest heart, he was a phenomenal husband and he was an absolute warrior,” said friend Caden Downing.

His friend and Pastor Don Martin said Hamilton was a hero.

“There’s nothing Ray has done that he was ever searching for accolades or glory, Ray did what he did because it was the right thing to do,” said Martin.

Hamilton’s wife Renee sat on stage wearing his jacket and shared her feelings with the auditorium through a recording.

“When you raise a glass to start the new year is that your New Year’s resolution is to be more like Ray: always be positive, never say an unkind word about anybody,” the recording said.

In addition to the kind words and fond memories, the sheriff also promised justice for Ray Hamilton.

“Our God is an awesome God and no cowardly act or person can ever change that,” said Sheriff Eric Aden.