By Annie Rigby
A service to celebrate the life of Larry Hickman, a lifetime firefighter since 1965 and assistant fire chief since 2013, was held on Sunday, June 7. Hickman passed away at McLeod Florence Hospital on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.
A procession in the antique fire truck he loved and called his own carried him to the hub at the Loris Fire Department at the Public Safety Building on Sunday, June 2. An American flag covered his coffin and the antique fire hose nozzle and fire extinguisher he salvaged and used on the antique truck were set in front.
Opening the ceremony was with a prayer, scripture and message given by the Rev. Mack Hutson. The eulogy was presented by Chaplain John Wayne Tyler. Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art and Old Rugged Cross were played. Reflections by family and friends drew Mayor Todd Harrelson and Hickman’s niece, Chandra Covil.
A fire service honor guard posts whenever a firefighter is being viewed to guard him; they rotate every 15 minutes.
The Last Alarm Ceremony the Bell is the most common type of alarm for fire departments across the country. The bell rung would signal the start of a tour or a shift, signal a fire and where and then signal the end of the shift. The ringing of the bell 5-5-5 signals a firefighter has died and has finished his last shift and has gone home. The modern fire dispatch is announced through the 911 Communications Center, alerts firefighters to calls; a last alarm dispatch was created and used during the service. The firehouse siren is common in many of the older firehouses across the country. It is used by many fire departments to also alert firefighters and is the back up alerting. The Loris Firehouse siren is part of history. The firehouse siren follows the dispatch call in alerting Assistant Fire Chief Larry Hickman for his last alarm.
Hickman’s Number 23 on his helmet is used in the dispatch to pay respects to the old radio call signal as a sign as a Firefighter (Loris 23). The two on the helmet, Loris 2, was Hickman’s radio call sign as assistant chief and second in charge.
Pallbearers were LFD Paul Prince, HCFR Finklea Chad Barber, HCFR Goretown Captain Scott Harrelson, HCFR Cherry Hill Assistant District Chief Kendall Tyler, TCFD Tabor Fire Chief Jeff Fowler and FBFR Fire Chief Travis Causey.
In a thank you on behalf of the Loris Fire Department, Chief Jerry Hardee listed the agencies who participated in some capacity to honor Hickman. They are HCFR EMS and fire departments for Tabor City, Fair Bluff, North Myrtle Beach, Marion, Marion Rural and Mullins. Police departments include Loris Police, Horry County Sheriff’s Office, Horry County Police, Marion County Sheriff, Marion City Police, Mullins Police, Horry County E-911 and Airlink 2 Aeromedical.
Hickman was escorted by the many agencies to the committal with honors held at Green Sea Cemetery. The city of Loris and the Loris Fire Department has lost a wonderful man, a gentle, kindhearted and humble man.