Firefighters from all over East Texas converged on the city of Overton to pay their respects to a well-known, well-respected, longtime firefighter. 75-year-old Joe Lee Mullican passed away on Monday. He had been with the Arp Fire Department for 57 years. Mullican started with the Arp fire department in 1956. He was known to most simply as Uncle Joe.
"He was a long time in service; well-loved, great man, everybody called him Uncle Joe. He'd always come in the fire department, shake your hand, ask how you were doing. If we had a call he'd always show up," says Arp firefighter Brandon Massey.
Fire departments from all over Smith County attended, many who had known Mullican for decades.
"He would respond with us on fires and if we needed anything after it got to the point where he couldn't put on bunker gear anymore, he'd bring us what we needed whether it was hoses , water, anything" says firefighter Marilynn Wilson.
A true hometown hero, Mullican was devoted to his town.
"He loved his town of Arp, Texas. Joe was and represented the Arp community at large and on display, and there's no doubt that we will miss him," said family friend Tommy Harden.
The day before he died, Mullican had gone out on a fire call with Arp crews.
"Once you're a firefighter, you're always a firefighter. He knew where everything was on every truck and he knew how to get it to us," Wilson says.
With salutes from fellow firefighters and patriot guard members, the old firefighter was taken to his final resting place in the back of a fire engine.
"The fire department meant everything in the world to him," says Wilson.
Joe Lee Mullican was laid to rest at Mason Cemetery with full department honors, and the sound of the 'last call' over fire engine radios.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 1:21 PM EDT2013-05-21 17:21:46 GMT
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