The circumstances of his death were suspicious and shocking. But as much as his death was mourned, Dustin Rhodes life was celebrated.
About a month ago, the young man who grew up in Augusta was found dead on a beach in the Virgin Islands city of Christiansted.
His death led to an outpouring of support from many he touched. From the Virgin Islands Governor to the family of a man who Rhodes comforted after a fatal motorcycle accident, people were touched by Rhodes' kindness and dedication.
"He wasn't the perfect kid," said Dustin's father Earl Rhodes who raised Dustin. "From when he was 18 to about 20, our relationship wasn't the best. But as he grew up it got so much better."
Earl got custody of Dustin after a divorce when Dustin was 14. After Dustin finished school, Earl took a job working at the largest oil refinery in the Western Hemisphere in the Virgin Islands.
On Dustin's 21st birthday, Earl brought his sons to the island to visit. Dustin fell in love with the island and wanted to be close to his dad again and soon he also worked at the refinery.
Not long after moving there, Dustin began working as a volunteer with the emergency medical services. After a few years as a volunteer, he took a job as an EMT. It was a big cut in salary, but a small price to pay to follow his calling.
In this position, he touched many lives and met his soulmate, Iotha.
On May 16, Rhodes was headed to the gym to work out. No one knows what happened during that fateful trip. The next day, his body was found after a short search.
There was no obvious sign of trauma and nothing appeared to be stolen.
It appears to be an unexplained tragedy that left many on the island mourning.
"Dustin had so many friends," his father said. "After his body was found, several reporters were there and the officers told them we didn't want to be interviewed. But all they wanted to do was tell us they had known Dustin and he was their friend."
Condolences even came from the highest officials in the government.
"On behalf of the people and Government of the United States Virgin Islands, I extend my sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Dustin Isaac Rhodes," said a statement from USVI Governor John P. de Jongh Jr. "As a volunteer with the Department of Health for three years, he willingly gave of himself to serve our community.
“We are tremendously grateful for this service and stand proudly with his family and friends in memory of his generous spirit and courageous character. His gentle smile and humble bedside manner will always be remembered."
Similar sentiments were offered by the Senate President, the Director of the Department of Health, the Lieutenant Governor, and the U.S. Rep. from the Virgin Islands.
How he died may never be known, but how he lived will leave a lasting impact around Augusta and his home in the Virgin Islands.