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Former firefighter of year dies

A past recipient of the Pike County Firefighter of the Year Award will be buried today and condolences to his family have come from firefighters all across the state.

Robert Catrett died May 13, and services will be held for the longtime community servant at 10 a.m. today at Dillard Funeral Home Chapel.

Johnny Gibson, past president of the Pike County Firefighters Association, said there has never been a more dedicated firefighter than Catrett.

"Robert was a longtime member of the Meeksville Fire Department and served as vice president of the Pike County Firefighters Association for 12 years," Gibson said. "When he became disabled because of his diabetes and was not able to work fulltime, he spent a lot of time at the firefighters' association office. He would be there to answer the telephone, handle some of the business and do anything that was needed around there. He wanted to stay involved. He was a dedicated firefighter."

Catrett was involved in the effort to bring the Fire Safety House to Pike County.

"He knew how valuable the safety house would be in teaching the children about fire safety," Gibson said. "He worked hard to make sure the children of Pike County would have the Fire Safety House available to them."

Gibson said Catrett was one of those people who didn't let illness stop him from doing things for other people.

"Robert was one of those people who gave of himself," Gibson said. "He was dedicated to people and he was dedicated to his church and his community.

Around association office, he would read Bible scriptures and he was a real inspiration to our firefighters."

Gibson said that firefighters across the state knew Catrett and appreciated his volunteer spirit and his commitment and dedication as a firefighter.

"Representatives of the Alabama Association of Volunteer Fire Fighter Departments will be here to pay their respects to Robert's family," Gibson said. "We have had many calls from Robert's friends at fire departments around the state, the Alabama Forestry Commission and those he knew who sale fire fighting equipment. They've all called to expressed their sympathy to the family and the community."

Catrett was as dedicated to his church and the community as he was to being a volunteer firefighter," Gibson said.

"He was a deacon at Calvary Baptist Church and every time they had their big peanut boil, he was there, doing his part," Gibson said. "He was a longtime member of the Troy Band Boosters. Robert put his heart into anything he did. He will be missed by all of us.".