Family, friends, and those he served alongside stopped Wednesday to honor the life of La Vergne Fire Chief Rick McCormick
His funeral was held Wednesday, and he was described as a person who loved life and loved it to the fullest, but he was also dedicated fire service and to his family.
Firefighters from across the state came out to pay their respects.
The funeral was not a sad one, it was truly a celebration of life.
It was a fitting tribute to McCormick, a man who gave his all to the La Vergne Fire Department.
“Cherish the moments that you had with him because when you hear the term fire fighter’s chief that’s exactly what we had,” La Vergne Fire Marshal Curtis Brinkley said during the eulogy. “We had a firefighter’s chief.”
A man who cherished his family.
“To his children, you had a daddy who would truly go to end the end of the world and back for you,” Brinkley said. “And he loved his wife Diana.”
And everyone he came in contact with.
“Ricky was a friendly man who never met a stranger,” the fire marshal said.
But how do you describe a man like that in one word?
“How do you describe a man that gave so much to so many for nothing in return,” Brinkley asked.
The answer, you simply can’t.
“So, if I had to choose a word or a phrase I would say Rick, he’s a good man,” Brinkley said.
And it’s just like McCormick to personally design his own casket, painted red and black, with flashing lights, the La Vergne Fire Department logo on top; going out in style.
“Anyone who knew him knew if you could put a light on or something that smelled good in it, he was going to have them both,” Brinkley said.
But it’s the things you don’t hear about that made McCormick who he is.
Like the time he responded to a medical call because the paramedics were too far away.
“As a mother holding a lifeless, bluish-colored two-year-old came running out,” Brinkley said. “Ricky grabbed the little girl and went to work. After the little girl was crying which was a good noise at that moment. The medics came and took over. I have no doubt the little girl would have died.”
He kept the little girl’s photo his wallet until he passed away.
Heroic actions like that are the reason he and other first responders in La Vergne were recently honored at a community day.
“We are so blessed to have people who are running into danger when other people running away from it,” said Angela Walker with WoodmenLife Insurance Agency who presented the chief with a flag. “I told him, I said when I hear those sirens I pray for you and I pray for your families because I know they are wondering if you’re going to come back home.”
Firefighters who attended said fire service is a brotherhood and sisterhood, that’s why they came to pay respects to McCormick.
“In a time of need like this, especially during a loss of a member it’s huge,” said firefighter Matthew Lupo, who works for La Vergne and Rutherford County Fire & Rescue. “So, we like to come together support our brothers and sisters help uplift them and give them that little boost of morale they need.”
“No matter what department you’re on whether you’re here in Tennessee or you’re across the country, when a firefighter falls in the line of duty or for unexpected cause while they are on active duty the Brotherhood comes out and support of the families and the departments,” said Almaville Fire Chaplin Don Mullins.
A final farewell honoring the life of a man who put so many others first.
Chief McCormick was taken on one final ride around La Vergne including passing by the fire administration building and city hall. He was given full fire service honor at his graveside service.
McCormick served 31 years in the fire service.
His brother and one of his sons also work with the La Vergne Fire Department.