COLLINSVILLE, Miss.-- In the early morning hours of Saturday, a call came in that there was an accident on West Lauderdale Road, and as he has done so many times in the more than 20 years as fire chief for the Collinsville Volunteer Fire Department, Clyde Walker said goodbye to his wife and headed in that direction. But this time, Walker never made it to the scene.
According to Lauderdale County Coroner Clayton Cobler, Walker's truck hydroplaned on Highway 19 and hit a tree, instantly killing the dedicated firefighter. It is a sad time for not only the fire department, but the entire Collinsville area.
"The community knew that someone was going to respond anytime there was a need out here and any of the surrounding areas," says Craig Hitt, who is a volunteer firefighter in Collinsville. "Clyde Walker was going to respond, and that is one of the things that will so dearly missed in the future. We know someone will respond, but it won't be him in the future. He has always in the past."
Something that made the situation harder on the fire department is that most of the volunteers were on the scene of Walker's accident.
"We had to deal with our family -- one of our own -- (Saturday) morning," Hitt said. "But, I think, being a family will help us work through this and deal with what we have to deal with."
Counselors from Weems Mental Health were in Collinsville all morning helping the volunteer firefighters, which include Walker's two sons. During the session, the firefighters shared stories about their chief and remembered how much he fought for the department, especially when it came to a three-year-long fight to get a new brush truck.
"It was just one of those things that he wasn't going to give up," Hitt said. "He was going to get that truck -- whatever it took. He continued to make phone calls to Washington and Jackson and whoever he thought he could call and make a difference. And it did make a difference. We got the truck here in Collinsville and it has been used many times, even (Saturday) morning."
Clyde Walker leaves behind a wife and three children, several grand children and two great-grandchildren.
Services for Chief Walker were held Monday, Jan. 27 at 11 a.m. at the Stephens Funeral Home Chapel.
Republished with permission of WTOK-TV.