Sumrall volunteer firefighters remembered at state capitol

Sumrall volunteer firefighters remembered at state capitol
A report from the Mississippi Public Employees Retirement System warned of a money crisis in the future, saying the system will not reach its minimum goal of 80 percent funding by 2042. (Photo source: WDAM)

JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - Lamar County lawmakers remembered the lives of two Sumrall volunteer firefighters killed Wednesday with the full Mississippi Senate and House of Representatives Thursday.

Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, said the state is ordering flags in Lamar County to be flown at half staff in honor of 80-year-old Clinton Alvin Beasley and 53-year-old Loretta Ann Sykes, who were killed in a hit-and-run accident Wednesday.

"It's just terrible," Fillingane said. "These are great people and great families, and their loss is just tremendous. We want to do what little bit that we can try to do to help lessen their sorrow, and let them know that they are loved and they're prayed for and they're supported in the community."

Fillingane said he and Rep. Brad Touchstone, R-Lamar County, also adjourned the House and Senate Thursday in memory of Sykes and Beasley, who were helping direct traffic when they were hit by a car and killed.

"My heart just broke for the families and for our community because these are volunteers, who do this for no pay," Fillingane said. "They were out protecting the public safety. Your heart breaks when you hear something like that for good people who are doing the right things, and their lives are taken from them so needlessly. It's just a real tragedy, and our heart goes out to the families."

For Fillingane, who is from Sumrall, this tragedy is personal.

"I knew these people, and they're close friends of mine," Fillingane said. "I grew up with their families, so it just hurts. Mr. Beasley is actually a friend of mine. His daughter and I were one year apart in high school, so I know him very well. As long as I can remember, as long as there's been a volunteer fire department in Sumrall, which is as long as I can remember, he was there. I mean, he was like, I'm sure, one of the founding members of that department and stayed active even into his latter years. Ms. Sykes, I didn't know as well, but obviously, she's a hero in our community also, and then Shaun Huhn is a friend of mine. He was the one injured that's still in the hospital from the injuries he received, but I understand (he) is doing very well. So we're very thankful for his good news."

Fillingane said a joint legislative resolution to commemorate and memorialize their lives and service is also in the works, and it should be signed into law in the coming weeks.

"It's just a tragedy, and we're all very very sorry about what has happened to them and to our community," he said.