Parkway Baptist Church recognized Chickasaw County First Responders with a First Responder Appreciation Meal Saturday, Aug. 28.

The event was held to honor those who put their lives on the line daily to keep the public safe, as well as those lost in the line of duty.

A “Missing Man” table at the event silently recognized law enforcement officers who have died in line of duty in Chickasaw County.

If by some miracle, those officers -- and several other first responders who have died in line of duty in recent years -- returned to life, they’d fill that table.

Locally, the officers include:

--Chickasaw deputy Jeremy Voyles, a Parkway church member who died in an on-duty car crash Aug. 28, 2019.

--Although he didn’t die in Chickasaw, any list of fallen officers from this area would have to include Casey Harmon, born and reared in Chickasaw County. Harmon was working as a Lee County Juvenile Detention Officer in March, 1998, when he was fatally shot by a 16-year old inmate with a smuggled-in handgun.

--Chickasaw Deputy Robert Kirby, 25, was killed in December, 1981, while arresting a suspect.

Other local first responders who have died in line of duty in this county in recent years include:

--Woodland Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Randall Yeatman, then 50, died in December, 2018 when he suffered a stroke about 12 hours after returning home from an EMS call in the Woodland area. Chief Yeatman died 10 days after that call.

--Michael Collums, 54, of West Point, who was driving an ambulance for MedStat, was killed in a head-on wreck in Chickasaw County in February, 2017, while responding to an emergency scene.

--Okolona firefighter Archie Lee Carouthers died in February 1982, while fighting a fire in Okolona. He was a fireman and dispatcher for the Okolona Fire Department and a member of the Okolona school board, according to internet sources.

Yeatman and Carouthers are both in the Chickasaw County Firefighters Hall of Fame.

Federal guidelines state a “line of duty” death is one where illness or death happens within 24 hours of responding to an emergency.

The Hall of Fame was established several years ago to honor and remember firefighters who went above and beyond the call of duty. Their deaths in line of duty meant an automatic induction.

The names of Hall of Fame honorees are inscribed on a plaque which hangs in the east side hallway of the Chickasaw County Courthouse.

Yeatman was the sixth inductee, and second “line of duty” member of the Hall of Fame.

The Parkway dinner was a wonderful way to thank living First Responders for all that they do.

The Missing Man table was a fitting way to those who died serving us.

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