Veteran, first responder honored during funeral service in Richmond Hill

Veteran, first responder honored during funeral service in Richmond Hill
Published: Nov. 27, 2017 at 1:02 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 27, 2017 at 7:06 PM EST
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RICHMOND HILL, GA (WTOC) - Family and friends of a Parris Island firefighter and war hero said their final goodbyes Monday morning.

Mark Hummeldorf died in a car wreck last week.

"Mark Hummeldorf was someone everyone strived to be like. He set the bar when it came to the way he treated his family, treated his neighbors, served his country, served the members of this community," Savannah Professional Firefighters Association president Bob Millie.

He started his career as a U.S. Marine, earning a Purple Heart in 2004 while fighting in Fallujah, Iraq. Hummeldorf spent more than five years with Savannah Fire and Emergency Services, working as an Advanced Firefighter. He later transitioned to the Parris Island Fire Department as a Firefighter and Paramedic.

His funeral service was held at Saint Anne Catholic Church in Richmond Hill Monday morning, and hundreds of fellow military members, first responders and family attended.

Milie said it serves a dual purposed for those in uniform.

"Not only is it a time for them to grieve and mourn the loss, but it's a great time for them to show, respect, and honor him to the family and say you gave something to us," Millie said. "You gave your husband, your father, your brother to us, and for a while, we were honored to work with him and serve with him."

After he heard about Hummeldorf's accident, Milie said one of his first concerns was how the Savannah Fire crew who responded to the wreck were handling the loss of someone they knew.

"My first thought was: how is Mark and how are the men that were on 11 engine that day?" Milie recalled. "How are they dealing with it mentally? Are they gonna be OK? The department pulls together and did a debriefing to provide that support prior to the members who were at the incident leaving. It takes a toll on the men and women that ride these rigs, but proudly one of the ways they deal with this tragedy is getting back on the trucks and doing good work, doing the type of work that Mark was proud to do. So, it's kind of a cathartic and a healing process."

As fellow Marines lifted an American flag from his casket, firefighters and first responders from near and far lined the sidewalk to honor Hummeldorf.

Badges and trucks from fire departments across the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry were draped in black.

"I think it's a good time for us all to reflect and be thankful of who and what Mark was: an inspiration," Milie said.

Milie said he was a man with an infectious personality and professionalism second to none.

"He just had this giggly, goofy way about him, but when he got there, he just exuded professionalism and was the type of person that you always wanted to be crawling down a hallway with or working a job with," he said.

Hummeldorf leaves behind a wife, 4-year-old son and an unborn child.

The Savannah Professional Firefighters Association has set up a GoFundMe page for the family of Hummeldorf.

You can hear the final call for firefighter and paramedic Mark Hummeldorf below:

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