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County honors Nielsen with last rites
Mike Ward of the Bryan County Fire Department holds a box containing the remains of Terry Nielsen during services held at the firefighter’s home. - photo by Photo by Lewis Levine
A Bryan County fire truck, bearing a wreath on the front and an empty uniform on the back, led a procession through South Bryan on Sunday.
The line of vehicles passed under the ladders of trucks from Richmond Hill and Savannah, which were crossed above the highway to signify the Maltese Cross – a symbol of honor, courage and dedication in the fire service.
It was all part of the last rites for Bryan County firefighter Terry Nielsen, 56, who died Thursday at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta. Nielsen had been hospitalized since contracting necrotizing fasciitis, or the “flesh eating” disease in June during a training exercise.
A former Georgia Rookie Firefighter of the year, Nielsen served as a volunteer of the Bryan County Fire Department since 2003.
Bryan County Emergency Services Director Jim Anderson said Nielsen was simply a great volunteer.
“No matter what you asked him to do, he just did it,” he said. “He always gave himself confidently.”
Hundreds, including firefighters from more than 20 jurisdictions, attended the memorial service at First Baptist Church of Richmond Hill and followed the fire truck carrying Nielsen’s uniform to his home in South Bryan for a committal service.
At the committal service, the Bryan County Fire Department bestowed honors while Zerubbabel Lodge No. 15 F&AM gave Masonic rites.
Nielsen’s is the first line-of-duty death for Bryan County Emergency Services.
Remembrances in Nielsen’s honor may be made to the Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation Inc., 3614 J. Dewey Gray Circle, Augusta, GA 30909.
A raffle for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle was held recently as a fundraiser for Nielsen. The winner of the raffle will instead be named on Oct. 23, Public Safety Day, at the Publix on Hwy. 144.
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