Former Rincon Fire Chief Laid to Rest

The American flag hangs over highway 21, as the funeral procession passes underneath. Fire trucks, police cars and EMS units from Rincon fall in line for the last ride of former fire chief Raymond Smith.

"It's the biggest loss since I lost my father," said the current Rincon fire chief, Corey Rahn.

The emergency lights were covered in black in honor of a man who's firefighters say wasn't just a chief, but a mentor, a father figure.

"He'd give you the shirt off his back if you needed it," said Chief Rahn.

Smith spent 43 years in the department, taking every call, taking care of every person he could.

"Raymond was always there to help," said Effingham County Sheriff Larry McDuffie. "It didn't matter what time night or day, how many people showed up. If Raymond didn't miss the tones, which he rarely did, he was going to be there any way he could."

The pride he took in his job and in his community led many people to fill the cemetery to say goodbye to a man who gave his all, right up until the last bell.

Red roses at the cemetery show the love everyone had for Smith. So do the tears they shed for his loss.

Smith's family wasn't alone in their grief. Even firefighters who have seen it all needed some help. A hug to get them through this day. They had to say so long to their chief, knowing he would never again answer the call over the radio. So they sent one last call in his memory.

"Be advised, 44-11 is out of service and gone home forever."

With a few more hugs and a few more tears, the service ended. Smith was placed in the ground, his body gone, but his spirit will live forever in Rincon.

"He was my chief, he will always be my chief," according to a tearful Corey Rahn.

Raymond Smith was 67 years old