September 26, 2006 at 12:50 AM EST - Updated July 26 at 12:45 PM
TAR HEEL -- Firefighters from across the region saluted the family of Ron Allen, a firefighter with the Tar Heel Volunteer Fire Department, as they walked in for a beautiful ceremony honoring their hero Monday afternoon.
Hundreds showed up to pay their respects to the man who gave the department nearly 20 years of service. Allen's daughter Allie read a poem dedicated to her father.
Allen is the only firefighter in Bladen County to be killed in the line of duty.
Allen was marking hydrants on Highway 87 early Friday morning when he was killed. According to investigators, Allen parked his truck behind himself as a shield, but Linda Bascon, of St Pauls, drove into the back of the truck and pushed it over him.
"He took it on his own to do things for this fire department," said Fire Marshal Richard Martin, "and doing things for this department is how he left this world."
A banner called "the Red Line of Courage" now takes the place of where his gear used to hang. Allen was known as a courageous man who also loved a good joke every now and then.
"Ron was very funny," said his friend Johnna Anderson. "He always brought humor into everything he did."
Allen also had a lot of nicknames. "Two bricks" was one of them.
"I called him 'two bricks,'" said his coworker Donald Rutland, "because a hurricane would come through and he needed two bricks to go in his pocket so he wouldn't blow away."
While "two bricks" has left behind many heavy hearts, the joy he had brought will lift spirits and shine on in their memories.