Featured Photo: Front Row: Thomas Hendrix, residential construction manager, Buchanan Construction; Jeff Hendrix, carpentry manager, Buchanan Construction; Vanessa Crook, office manager, Buchanan Construction; Dr. Scott Queen, vice president for economic and workforce development, Blue Ridge Community College; Trina Stokes, executive director, Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation; Chris White, chief of police, Blue Ridge Community College Police Dept. Back Row: Jason Norton, vice president of residential construction, Buchanan Construction; Rick Buchanan, owner and president, Buchanan Construction. (Photos by: Benjamin Rickert. High resolution photos for media use are available on Google Drive.)
By: Benjamin Rickert
Blue Ridge Community College
Marketing & Communications Dept.
In honor of Ryan P. Hendrix, a Henderson County Sheriff’s Office deputy who lost his life in the line of duty in 2020, Buchanan Construction presented a $25,000 donation to Blue Ridge Community College on Oct. 17. The funds were raised through this fall’s first annual Ryan Hendrix Memorial Golf Tournament to support aspiring officers enrolled in Blue Ridge’s Basic Law Enforcement Training program.
The event was organized by Buchanan Construction, where the fallen deputy worked prior to joining the Sheriff’s Office and where his brothers, Thomas Hendrix and Jeff Hendrix, remain employed.
“We wanted to do something to remember Ryan Hendrix and to honor him, and also to help those who follow in his footsteps,” explained Rick Buchanan, owner and president of Buchanan Construction. “Hopefully, there are many more years to come with the Ryan Hendrix Memorial Golf Tournament.”
“It is emotional because losing Ryan was a very tough time for us,” added Thomas Hendrix. “It’s nice to be able to give something back.”
On a Tuesday morning, Buchanan Construction hosted Blue Ridge Community College representatives and presented the donation along with a large symbolic check to the College’s Educational Foundation. The group also discussed the legacy Deputy Hendrix left behind.
“Ryan was one of a kind. When everyone was running the other way from something, he was running toward it,” said Jeff Hendrix. “Even that night [he died], he went in head first, knowing there was a weapon there. When he went to Iraq, he volunteered to go there. And he volunteered for the Sheriff’s Office. If there was ever a fight, he was running head first into it.”
Deputy Hendrix passed away on Sept. 10, 2020, due to injuries sustained while responding to a violent incident. He held numerous public safety ranks, served with the SWAT team and toured Iraq in 2006 with the United States Marine Corps. Ryan’s parents, Don and Heidi Hendrix, were later awarded the Medal of Supreme Sacrifice by the Fraternal Order of Police. As part of the extensive community response, in 2023 the Henderson County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution presented by Sheriff Lowell Griffin to name the US-64 bridge over I-26 in Hendrix’s honor.
Before the presentation of the donation concluded, the surviving brothers shared words for aspiring police officers.
“Be strong, and know that there are people who support you,” said Thomas Hendrix.
“It’s not for everyone,” added his brother, Jeff Hendrix. “You have to have your heart in it. You have to have your mind in the right place. But for the few that are called to do it, you should be passionate about it, and we’re behind you one hundred percent.”
Information about next year’s Ryan Hendrix Memorial Golf Tournament is available at www.buchananconstruction.com/tournament.
Blue Ridge Community College’s public safety training programs play a key role in building the region’s law enforcement, emergency medical and fire and rescue workforce. Also, the College’s Henderson County Campus is home to Western North Carolina’s Public Safety Training Facility. Students interested in pursuing a public safety career are invited to learn more at www.blueridge.edu/public-safety.