‘He found the good in everything bad’: Floyd County deputy dies of COVID-19

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 6:14 PM EDT
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FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) - After a long battle in the hospital with COVID-19, Floyd County Sheriff deputy Oliver Little died Wednesday.

Little gave his whole life to being a public servant. He held many roles in the community first as an EMT, then a paramedic, an ER nurse, and finally a sheriff’s deputy.

“Oliver, he’s the type that you want to be as brave as he is,” said Oliver’s brother Drew Little.

Every person WSAZ interviewed said what they would remember most about Oliver was his smile.

“I think he wakes up with a smile,” said Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt.

His brothers Billy and Drew consider him their biggest inspiration and say he put his heart into everything he did.

“Probably a lot of people’s heroes. He was definitely my superhero,” Billy said. “To see so many people love him and care for him and to hear those stories that he’s touched so many lives, it touches us and it makes it a little bit better for us.”

In 2015, Sheriff Hunt made Oliver’s lifelong dream of becoming a police officer a reality. He left in 2018 to go live out another dream of being an officer in Florida but returned in 2020.

“We call him the voice of reasoning here. He was a little older than most of our guys, so he was the older brother to all of our other deputies,” Hunt said.

Hunt said he was an ER nurse when he hired Oliver and the medical community told him he was one of the best. Hunt saw that firsthand when Oliver took care of his parents in their time of need.

“He was their savior. He was the paramedic that came to them. He took care of my family like a doctor did. I mean, my dad would say, ‘Son listen, send ole Oliver boy up here to check on me’,” Hunt said.

Those working alongside Oliver at the Floyd County Sheriff Department considered him a brother.

“Everyone always talks good about people when they pass away they don’t find the bad stuff in it, but Oliver is one of those guys there was nothing bad about him. He was always laughing and smiling, and he did the job he knew how,” said Deputy Kevin Thacker.

Justin Szymchack, who started at the department at the same time as Oliver, said no one will be able to fill his shoes.

“It always made you feel better if Oliver was there. He was just a good guy. You knew he was always going to have your back and no matter what if he was going with you he was going to bring you home,” he said.

Oliver was one of five children. He leaves behind two sons.

His funeral arrangements have not been finalized.

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