SUMRALL, MS (WDAM) - A fallen Sumrall Volunteer Firefighter had a hero's send off Monday with a full honor guard, and her final ride on a firetruck.
Firefighters saluted and bagpipes played as Loretta Ann Sykes' casket was loaded onto a firetruck for her final ride to her resting place.
Sykes, 53, was struck and killed on Wednesday, March 15, on Oloh Road in Sumrall, with fellow volunteer fireman Clinton Alvin Beasley, 80. Another firefighter, Shawn Huhn, was also struck, but has since been released from the hospital.
On Monday, friends, family and emergency personnel from around the state gathered for the funeral service in Sumrall.
"She always had a smile on her face and was eager to help others," Sumrall Fire Chief Heath Sumrall said. "Her personality touched each member of the department in a certain way."
Fellow volunteer firefighters from around the county took turns sharing memories and speaking about her volunteer efforts during the service.
"She came to serve, anything you asked her to do, she was Johnny on the spot," Oloh Volunteer Fire Chief Steve Barefoot said. "This is one of the hardest scenes that I've ever worked, as I was going up there I was trying to run through my mind who was there.... and when I got there it broke my heart."
Barefoot encouraged people in attendance to do their part and in some way, or some form, volunteer in their community and let her name live on.
With tear-filled eyes, at the graveside service, Lamar County Fire Coordinator George Stevens spoke highly of the two firefighters.
"I think both of them are exceptional people in the county, in the state, and in the country, I don't know if you could find anyone that's much more loved than these two people by the fire service," Stevens said.