"I knew that he was always there if I needed," said Daniels, adding that Poland was an excellent mechanic with an array of tools that he lent to people in town.
Skipper said Poland and his wife would often sit on their porch, drinking coffee, praying and reading the Bible.
"They loved to be together," Skipper said.
On Saturday morning, Poland's wife wasn't home. A rack of worn trucker's caps sat on hooks on the porch, and two freshly baked pies were laid atop a cooler.
The victim's son, Aaron Poland, told NBC News that he wasn't surprised by his father's final act, trying to protect a bus full of kids.
"He considered them his children," Poland said, choking back tears. "And I know that's the reason why my dad took those shots, for his children, just like he would do for me and my sister."
As Newton grieves, residents are praying for the safe return of the boy being held hostage.
"The community is real concerned," said Fred McNab, mayor of Pinckard, Ala. "You can tell by the food that's been carried over there to the church. It's just devastating. We want it to come to a resolution. We want to save that little child."
Police have used the pipe for communication and to deliver the boy medication for his emotional disorders. State Rep. Steve Clouse, who visited the boy's mother, said the boy has Asperger's syndrome — a mild form of autism — and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
But police have not revealed how often they are in touch or what the conversations have been about.
Local officials who have spoken to police or the boy's family have described a small room with food, electricity and a TV.
Sheriff Olson would not say Saturday whether Dykes has made any demands. Olson added that he is limited in the details he can release.
Dykes had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday to answer charges he shot at his neighbors in a dispute last month over a speed bump.
Follow Tamara Lush on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tamaralush
Associated Press writers Eric Tucker in Washington; Tamara Lush and Phillip Rawls in Midland City; Bob Johnson in Montgomery, Ala., and AP researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.