Posted: Sunday, June 15th 2014 at 9:03am
Well-known EMT, former fire chief laid to rest in Habersham
By Rob Moore Editor
CORNELIA - A man well known in the northeast Georgia public safety community was remembered in funeral services Saturday in Cornelia.
Gary Pollard, 45, a Habersham County EMT and former Banks County fire chief and Baldwin Fire Department assistant chief, died Tuesday following a battle with cancer.
One word that came up continually after Pollard's death was hero.
"There is so much to say about that man," said Habersham County resident Ramey Nubern. "To me, he was a hero - second to none.
"He was the first EMT that came out when I thought I was having a heart attack, later diagnosed as myocarditis, but the way he talked to me and cared for me made an everlasting impression on me and changed the way I looked at and felt about our public servants here in Habersham County," Nubern said. "He treated me as if I was the last person on earth, and was able to keep me calm and focused at a time that I couldn't do either."
Pollard was named 1997 Fireman of the Year for Habersham County Fire Department Station 12, 1999 Employee of the Year for the City of Baldwin, and was recognized in 2001 and 2002 for dedicated service in Baldwin.
Pollard was recognized for service as captain at Baldwin Fire Department in 1999, and as assistant chief in 2000.
Like many others in public safety, Chief Tammy Ayers of Georgia Department of Corrections Station 1 at Lee Arrendale State Prison in Alto was influenced by Pollard and his leadership.
"Gary was a friend like no other," she said. "Not only was he a hero, but he was a huge supporter of our fire department here at LASP. He dedicated many hours in training with us."
But Pollard's colleagues also were his friends, as evidenced by the number of uniformed personnel at his funeral Saturday.
"He was always there for me when I needed him, whether it be work or just personal matters," Ayers said. "His legacy will forever be a part of the fire department family, and we will miss him greatly."
To pay their respects, an ambulance each from Jackson, Stephens and White counties, as well as one each from Northeast Georgia Health System and North Georgia Medical Transport, joined fire trucks from Baldwin, Cornelia, Banks County, Tallulah Falls and Habersham County in the procession.
In front of Baldwin Fire Department, the procession passed under an arch created by Baldwin's ladder truck and Cornelia's Snorkel. Outside Level Grove Baptist Church, a ladder arch was created by ladder trucks from Clarkesville and Demorest fire departments.
"His absence will be greatly felt," Nubern said. "I have a special place in my heart for Gary Pollard and the family. He was a gift to us from God. RIP Gary Pollard - much love and respect."
Pollard worked for Habersham Emergency Medical Services for 14 years.
Georgia Department of Corrections State Fire Marshal Jessica Z. Maher-Smith, recently deployed to Afghanistan, has worked with Pollard for about 10 years and praised his leadership abilities.
"He was an awesome mentor," Smith said. "He took care of his people."
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