LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Damon Duvall is very familiar with that smile seen in photographs of Steven Herring, known to him as "Uncle Steve."
"I thought it was just me," he said. "I thought I was special. He made everybody feel like they were special. I'm learning that."
Duvall told WHAS11 the General Electric employee who died Sunday morning after a workplace injury was Herring. He said he learned of the news shortly after Herring passed.
"I cried like a baby," he said. "I called my wife, I was texting her like, 'Are you serious?'"
General Electric has not officially released the employee's name. A company spokesperson said the employee was injured while working on the refrigeration door line on Friday and was rushed to the hospital, where he died Sunday.
"He was a valued team member with 24 years of service who was extremely well-liked and respected by his colleagues," Julie Wood, the Senior Director of Public Relations for GE Appliances, said in the statement. "We are grieving his loss and are working with his family to provide assistance during this difficult time."
Duvall said his Uncle Steve was more than just a long-time employee at GE. He said his faith was very important to him and that he loved his church family at St. Stephen Church. He said he also loved to flash his trademark style, seen in the photographs shared with WHAS11 with Herring's family's permission, and longed to make others feel that similar joy.
"He didn't enjoy somebody's frown," he said. "If he knew you were sad, he'd find a way to make it upbeat."
Duvall said even though Herring wasn't his uncle by blood, he played a large role in raising him.
"Growing up, I didn't have a daddy," he said. "So Steve was one of those extra daddies. I had like four or five extra fathers in my life and Steve was one of those people. He's one of those people, if he grabbed me, I know I'm in trouble. If he talked to me, I know he's telling me the right thing."
Duvall said Herring would often be around his family and would come around for all the holidays. But he was also there for the tough times, like when Duvall's mother died four years earlier.
"He knew I was down," he said. "Everything happened, he came around, 'You ain't got nothing to be sad about. Your mom, she's good where she's at.' Appreciate him coming around. He didn't have to come around. You don't meet people like that who come around for no reason. He had a reason to come around because he loved us as a genuine family."