MARIETTA - A parade of fire trucks and police cars moved through the Marietta square in the rain Monday afternoon, carrying the body of 49-year old Lonnie Nutt to the Roswell Street Baptist Church for visitation.
As firefighters and police officers alike saluted, his remains were carefully carried into the chapel and laid before the pulpit, where a constant stream of solemn visitors could pay their respects.
Firefighter/Engineer Nutt, an 18-year veteran of the Marietta Fire Department, collapsed and died on Thursday while assisting a motorist injured in a traffic accident. In almost 160 years, no Marietta firefighter has ever died while on a call.
“At least, it’s the first recorded,” said Assistant Fire Chief Kelly Caldwell. “I hope it’s the last.”
Like Fire Captain Merv McDonald, many the firefighting men and women who will attend his funeral, were Nutt’s friends - his “second” family.
“It’s a chance for the Fire Department family to pay respect and honor not only Lonnie, but his family for loaning him to us,” said Capt. McDonald. Both he and Chief Caldwell served with Nutt over nearly two decades.
Hundreds of people, including police and firefighters from around the country, will take part in Tuesday’s funeral, which will culminate in a procession that will be miles long. Services get underway at 11 a.m.