Tifton Gazette


December 19, 2013

Saluting one of their own


The American flag hung across Highway 82 East Thursday morning between two Tifton fire trucks as firemen with the Tifton-Tift County Fire Department lined the street and saluted to honor and show their support for Waycross Fire Department Lt. Jeff Little, who died Sunday morning in the line of duty.

The Georgia State Patrol escorted the funeral procession from Waycross to the Georgia/Alabama line in Haralson County. As the flag waved in the cool breeze, the procession made its way through Tifton, with officers from the Tifton Police Department and Tift County Sheriff’s Office joining the group to help direct them through town. The route included Cordele, Perry, Macon, Forsyth, McDonough, Douglasville, Bremen and Tallapoosa.

Some motorists stopped and got out of their vehicles to watch. A few truckers honked their horns as they passed through prior to the procession’s arrival. 

Standing back, watching the procession, a Waycross firefighter’s wife said they’re amazed by Tifton’s support.

Fire Chief Mike Coleman, he commented, “We are a brotherhood, and this is what we do for each other.”

He said his department immediately put together a plan when learning of the procession coming through Tifton. He said his men did an outstanding job.

Coleman released the following statement Thursday: “On behalf of the Tifton-Tift County Fire Department, I wish to reiterate our heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of Lt. Jeff Little of the Waycross Fire Department in the wake of his tragic passing. In addition, our thoughts and prayers continue for Chief David Eddins and members of the Waycross Fire Department.

“Today, we honored a fallen brother as he passed through Tifton in route to his final resting place in Alabama. There are many traditions in the fire service, but none more important than paying homage and tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Our mission today was to do his memory justice in a way befitting a fallen hero. I sincerely hope our efforts were pleasing to those who loved him and worked with him.

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  • public safety awards.tif

    Pictured are the honorees of Thursday night's annual Public Safety Officer Appreciation and Awards Banquet by the Tifton Elks Lodge. Shown, from left, are Louise Spradley, who organized the banquet, Eddie Brown with the Tift County Emergency Medical Services, Sgt. Debbie Pyles with the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Police Department, Sgt. Bart Walker with the Omega Police Department, Officer of the Year honoree Thomas Catanzarita with the Tift County Sheriff's Office Jail Division, Deputy Jonathan Toledo with the TCSO, Brandi Conway with the Tifton-Tift County Animal Shelter, Georgia State Patrol Trooper Ben Taylor, Officer Brian Shockley with the Tifton Police Department and volunteer Firefighter Brian Fincher with the Chula Fire Department.

    LEOs and first responders honored at banquet

    A room full of local law enforcement and first responders were honored Thursday night by the Tifton Elks Lodge at their annual Public Safety Officer Appreciation and Awards Banquet for their service in the community.
    Prior to the awards being given out, Louise Spradley, who organized the banquet, welcomed everyone, and the invocation and pledge were led by the Tift County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard.

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