Bunch received a 21-gun salute during funeral ceremonies Sunday.
If Dewayne Bunch could pick out what he would have wanted people to remember about him, it would probably be his love for both his family and his country, his wife Regina Bunch said during an interview Tuesday afternoon.
"He just tried to make a difference. He was always one that was working to do what was right for the community," she said.
"He would probably want to be remembered as a person with a servant’s heart. He didn’t waste time. He lived life to the fullest. He never sat still."
Dewayne believed that everyone "had the capacity to do good" and if they couldn’t find that capacity, then they needed to seek it out, Regina Bunch added.
Hundreds of Whitley County residents turned out Sunday afternoon to pay their final respects to Dewayne Bunch, a man, who they called soldier, legislator, teacher and friend.
Following a funeral with an overflow crowd at Croley Funeral Home, the funeral processional was led out of town to Highland Park Cemetery traveling under a giant American flag, which was stretched out over the road from a Corbin Fire Department ladder truck.
The funeral escort was filled with police cars, fire trucks and over 30 members of the Patriot Guard Riders. The patriot guard is a group of veterans who provide motorcycle funeral escorts for current and former members of the military.
Bunch served with the Kentucky National Guard for 24 years, and at the cemetery, guard members provided military honors complete with a 21-gun salute, the playing of taps and the folding of the flag, which had been draped over the casket, and presented it to his wife at the close of the service.
Regina Bunch said she was humbled by the turnout for her husband’s funeral.
"I was just so proud. I couldn’t believe how gracious everyone was. I was just humbled and proud. It was something," she said.
"I thought the service was absolutely beautiful. I thought everyone, who participated did an excellent job. I will forever be grateful that they worked so hard to honor him so eloquently."
Bunch, 50, passed away on July 11 at Oak Tree Hospital in Corbin. On April 12, 2011, he suffered a traumatic brain injury while trying to break up a fight between two students at Whitley County High School where he taught for over 17 years.
"Dewayne was a quality person. He was a Christian first. He was a family man. He was a soldier and a teacher. He was just a fine guy," noted Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell.
Whitley County Judge-Executive Pat White Jr. said that Dewayne Bunch’s passing was a tragedy not only for his family but the entire community.
"Dewayne brought an energetic desire to the office of State Representative to better this region. Our thoughts and prayers will be with his family," White said.
Gov. Steve Beshear issued a statement last Wednesday afternoon noting that Bunch would be missed.
"Jane and I were very sorry to hear of the passing of former Representative Dewayne Bunch," Beshear said. "In his time with us in Frankfort, he shared many of our goals for a better Kentucky, especially in improving education.
"He was a dedicated teacher and legislator, and he will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, particularly his wife Regina, who is serving admirably in her husband’s position as state legislator."
Beshear ordered that flags at state office buildings be lowered to half-staff Sunday in honor of Bunch.
During the funeral service, it was announced that the Kentucky Distinguished Service Metal had been posthumously awarded to Dewayne Bunch.
Bunch’s family resigned his position as state representative on Oct. 26. His wife, Regina, was selected as the Republican nominee for the position one week later, a move that was endorsed by local Democratic leaders.
She was the only candidate on the ballot during a Dec. 20, 2011, special election, where she was elected to fill out the remainder of her husband’s term in office.
The House Republican Leadership also issued a statement last Wednesday afternoon noting the tragedy of Dewayne Bunch’s passing.
"Dewayne truly represented someone who is committed to serving the public, whether it be as a school teacher, a member of the armed services, his church and his neighbors," the statement read.
"It was that caring commitment and dedication to the people of Whitley County that prompted him to run and win election as State Representative. Our thoughts and prayers are with Regina, her family and all those who knew and loved Dewayne as they deal with his passing."
Dewayne Bunch served in Iraq as a first sergeant and earned numerous honors.
Regina Bunch said that what you saw was what you got with her husband.
"With him there was nothing fake or phony. He was just an average man, who wanted to do right. He worked hard. He wasn’t about the glory. He didn’t care if anyone knew who did it," she added. "He was something else and I’m proud to have been his wife."