HOUSTON, Miss. (WTVA) - The Houston High School baseball team brought out the community to honor fallen sheriff's deputy,
Voyles died in a car accident in August 2019. In his memory, the Houston Hilltoppers kicked off their 2020 season by retiring his No. 6 baseball jersey.
Friends said Voyles, or "Merv" as he was widely known, was much more than a sheriff's deputy.
"He was such a pivotal part of our community," Voyles' childhood friend Zane Thomas said. "If somebody had to write a story of what a best friend would be, he was that guy. He had a bigger heart than people knew."
His former coaches described him as the ideal third baseman.
"He played third baseman like you would want a third baseman to play it," his former coach John Ellison said. "He wasn't scared of the ball. He'd suck anything up and he just played hard."
After he made a name for himself as a sheriff's deputy for the Chickasaw County, Voyles returned to the ballpark to continue serving the community as an umpire.
"He had a little bit of that law enforcement in him as an umpire," childhood friend John Gravat said.
But when it came to mentoring young players, like Gage Harrington, he said he couldn't have asked for a more kind confidant.
"The main thing that he advised me to do it whatever I do, be the best at it," Harrington said.
Voyles' friends and family said they are grateful to the community for continuing to keep his memory alive both on and off the field.