Gresston Volunteer Community Fire Department Chief Jay Brown will be buried with fallen firefighter honors Wednesday after suffering a fatal heart attack while on duty Sunday night.
Brown was helping clear trees after a severe thunderstorm in northern Dodge County when he suffered shortness of breath on Friendship UMC Church Road, Dodge County Coroner Joe Smith said.
The 42-year-old machinist at Lithonia Lighting lost consciousness on the way to Dodge County Hospital in Eastman and did not recover, Smith said.
"He was a good guy," said Smith, who is an Eastman firefighter. "He was like a big teddy bear. He was always working to help and better his community."
When high winds blew down trees and power lines, Brown answered the call about 6 p.m.
"The whole northern part of the county was a mess," said Stanley Stephens, director of the Dodge County Emergency Management Agency.
Six roads were blocked by fallen trees during the height of the storm, said Stephens, who worked closely with Brown.
"We've lost a very valuable person, a very dedicated person," Stephens said. "He was very knowledgeable about his job and took it very serious. He's left a critical void in our operation."
Brown's funeral will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the gymnasium of the Dodge County High School with interment following the ceremony in Gresston Cemetery.
He is survived by his wife, Lynn Williams Brown, and their 3-year-old daughter, Carter Brown; and stepchildren Christina and Stephen McDuffie.
The family has asked that memorial contributions be made to the Dodge County Fireman's Children's Fund.
Stokes-Southerland Funeral Home of Eastman has charge of arrangements.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service