LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. - A Lawrenceburg, Tennessee firefighter was laid to rest on Friday. 38-year-old engineer Jason Dickey was killed Monday night when the roof of a burning home collapsed on him and several other firefighters.
He'd been a firefighter for 11 years.
Dickey's life was remembered at the Mars Hill Baptist Church.
The speakers at the service made it clear from the start, this day was not for a funeral, it was a day to celebrate the firefighter's life. "We celebrate the husband that he was, the daddy that he was, the friend that he was, the co-worker that he was. And this day, we celebrate his life," said Lawrenceburg Mayor Keith Durham.
The fallen firefighter was remembered by those who knew him best.
"All that he's done, all the lifesaving measures he's put in place, he was a hero before Monday night," said Mayor Durham
That hero was honored with three bursts of five chimes on a bell, a reminder to the community that a brother had fallen and made the ultimate sacrifice.
One of the speakers told Jason's widow Jennifer, their three children, and their unborn child, they'll be there for them.
"You are part of our family and that will never change. We love you," said Lawrenceburg Fire Department Chaplain Chad Moore.
Another touching moment, the reading of the fireman's prayer.
One line said it all. "And if I am to lose my life according to my call, please bless with your protecting hand my family, one and all."
There was one final salute during the playing of "Taps."
The American flag that covered Dickey's casket was presented to his widow.
A bagpiper played "Amazing Grace." As others joined in, honor and color guards passed by one last time.
After the church service, the funeral procession made its way down Highway 43 through Lawrenceburg to a cemetery in Leoma.
Fire crews from across the southeast came to escort Dickey to his final resting place. Hundreds of people lined Highway 43 to honor the fallen firefighter. "It feels good that our community comes together in a time of need," said Lawrence County resident Kassity Howell.
Hundreds of fire trucks from across the southeast took part in the funeral procession from Lawrenceburg to Leoma.
J.W. Dotson stood at attention as the escort passed through. He knows the dangers firefighters face on a daily basis. "I mean, you take everybody that is a fire fighter and has been, we've been in dangerous places and it could have happened to any of us. Just seeing another one that it happened to, it makes you think."
It's been quite touching to see the emotion shown on the faces of Lawrence County residents this week. There's been a sadness. When one hurts, they all hurt. But one thing rings true - they are proud of the man who is still watching over them.
The Lawrenceburg Fire Department will resume duties manning their fire stations once again on Saturday morning. Departments from across southern middle Tennessee have been taking calls for them since Dickey's passing.