Newton County, Miss. Mickey Yates, the chief of the Greenfield Fire Department in Newton County died in a weekend collision with a sheriff's deputy vehicle on the way to an emergency call.
He was a volunteer fire chief for 28 years.
Yates was on Highway 492 near Evans Tabernacle Road where he collided with a sheriff's deputy vehicle. The deputy did not suffer any life-threatening injuries.
Yates' fellow firefighters describe him as a family man with a strong passion and dedication for his work. And they say the loss of their fire chief is a huge blow to the community.
"People don't realize what goes in it. We don't get paid a dime; we do it for the community," said Assistant Chief Dwayne McGaugh. "Sometimes we get a thank you, sometimes we don't. But Mickey was so dedicated, and all his spare time went to this department to make it what it is now."
Firefighters who worked with Yates praised him and admitted the Greenfield VFD wouldn't be what it is today without Yates' efforts.
"He got us any kind of equipment we needed," said Kenneth Graham. "He wouldn't get you everything you wanted, but he'd get you everything you needed. You needed it, you got it. And you just can't say enough of a man like that."
But after such a devastating loss to the community.. Yates' friends and coworkers say they are going to do everything they can to keep his passion alive.
"It's going to be hard. We're going to survive. We're going to try to keep it going for Mickey. Mickey's wife asked me personally; she said, 'don't let that fire department die, he worked too hard for it.'"
The funeral service Wednesday will honor Yates' life and service to the public.
The fire trucks will lead a procession carrying his casket. All county fire departments will have an engine in the procession. At the cemetery, Yates' fellow firefighters will hold one last call for their chief.
The funeral will be inside the chapel at Milling Funeral Home in Union. Yates will be buried at Sand Springs Cemetery.