Union, Miss. Mickey Yates, the longtime chief of the Greenfield Volunteer Fire Department in Newton County, died from a collision with a sheriff's deputy vehicle Saturday night. His fellow firefighters, emergency responders, law enforcement, friends and family said goodbye to Yates at his funeral Wednesday.
"And Lord be with my community. And keep it safe as it can be. For all its folks are special and very dear to me" are lines from the fire chief's prayer.
And for Fire Chief Mickey Yates, truer words were never spoken. Yates became fire chief when he was still only a teenager. He spent his life serving his community.
"Chief Yates was a firefighter's fire chief," said Hickory Fire Chief Ginger Hand. "He gave so much of his time to not only his community, but he took care of his firemen. And it's important for us to take care of him and his family through this memorial tribute."
And it wasn't just Yates' firefighters who paid their respects. Responders from all over the state filled the parking lot and lined the streets at Milling Funeral Home.
And if you asked any of his fellow firefighters, they'll tell you they're more than just coworkers.
"If you're not in the fire service, you really can't understand the close-knit family we are," said Hand. "And whether we're on the same department or a department in California or Florida, we are all family. And families come together to honor those who have given so much and sacrifice for their community."
Greenfield firefighters were the pallbearers who lifted Yates' casket to their engine after the funeral. That truck led the procession of emergency responders to the Sand Springs Cemetery where they had one last call for their chief.
Chief Yates was the 66th firefighter to die in the line of duty so far this year in the United States.