Friday, July 25 2014 9:23 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:23:15 GMT
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Firefighters from across western North Carolina gathered in Burke County Monday to say goodbye to long time volunteer firefighter and EMT Clinton "Pap" Lowman.
Lowman died Friday after a brief illness. Officials believe he was the oldest active EMT in North Carolina when he stopped responding to calls in December. That's when he turned 95 years old.
Pap joined the Icard Township Fire Department in 1962 and became a fixture there and responded to as many calls as he could. "Pap served the community well," said Valdese Fire Chief Charlie Watts.
"If they could say that about all of us then we all did what God had planned for us," he said. Lowman was honored in 2012 after he had served 50 years with the department.
On WBTV News at the time, he said that he "Just enjoyed going out on calls with the boys." On the fact that he had been bestowed numerous honors over the years, Lowman said he was just lucky.
"The man above has been good to me." In later years Pap could not actively fight the fires, though on occasion he was still pressed into service. Even so, he always showed up at emergency situations to do what he could to help, even directing traffic when needed.
"He's an inspiration for all the county," said fellow Icard Firefighter Adam Rawls. Lowman's funeral was held Monday afternoon at the Heritage Funeral Home in Valdese. A mile long procession followed, taking his body to a cemetery in Hickory for burial.
Along the way, on the overpasses across Interstate 40, Fire trucks sat with their lights flashing with firefighters standing outside at attention and saluting as the casket was carried past them. Burke County Deputy Fire Marshal Cecil Huffman said it's hard to think that Pap is gone.