“My husband would be so honored by the naming of this bridge—as are we.” Paige Mast, widow of Watauga Deputy William Mast Jr., whose last tour of duty started 20 months ago today. Paige Mast said, “I pray that everyone that crosses this bridge and sees his name takes the time to remember the sacrifice that he made to protect his community and to thank all law enforcement for what they do.” She thanked the community for the support her family has received, “I want to take this time to personally thank all of you for your thoughts, prayers, love and support during the past 20 months. Our family and I are so grateful for all that you have done for us.” Watauga Commission Chair Nathan Miller told the gathering Mast’s death was the hardest part of his service on the Watauga Commission, “We as a community owe a duty to Deputy William Mast to never forget his sacrifice.” And he said, “We will not forget William.” Sheriff Len Hagaman shared the perspective of the law enforcement officers, “There is not a day that goes by that our senses do not remind us of William and the ultimate sacrifice that he gave to his community,” and “We need to live by the dedication that William inspires.” The signs are already up on the US 421 bridge over the New River at the southeast edge of Boone—to be dedicated to the life of—and life lost—of Watauga Deputy William R. Mast Jr., shot and killed 20 months ago responding to an early morning call, July 26th 2012.