Morganton firefighter with five decades of service laid to rest
John Stroup served his local community for more than 50 years as a firefighter.
MORGANTON, N.C. (WBTV) - Family and friends said goodbye this afternoon to a man who had dedicated over 50 years to the fire department.
John Stroup was a chief at the Salem Fire and Rescue. He suffered a heart attack on the job and passed shortly after.
“If you talked with people around here, he was a friend, a mentor to many, many firefighters,” Karyn Yaussy said.
The Bible speaks of a time for each season. A time to laugh, a time to cry. In Morganton, it was time to mourn.
“He was dedicated to his community,” Charles Autarey told WBTV’s Ron Lee. “He was a true servant.”
Autarey served with Stroup for part of those 50 years. He said John was a kind man, a family man, and a stickler in the department.
“[Stroup] literally taught thousands of firefighters how to drive fire trucks and pump engines,” he said.
Stroup’s career started in 1972 when his father’s barn caught fire. First responders arrived to put down the fire and keep other structures from burning. That ignited a spark in John, prompting him to join the department.
“John and one of his friends decided to join the fire department, and he did that on his 18th birthday,” Autarey said.
At the service, memories were shared and beautiful words were spoken. But none so poignant as Stroup’s daughter talking about her father’s legacy.
“He was the same way about serving and going out of his way for anyone,” she said. “That was his passion and his purpose.”
Stroup was going to be presented with the Order of the Guardian this Friday - the highest honor presented by the State Fire Marshall’s Office. Now, it will be given to his family posthumously.
“There’s no better way in my mind how to leave this world then to be called home doing what you love doing,” said Yaussy.
The procession stopped at Stroup’s firehouse. It was his one last call before being sent home.
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