Hundreds Gather For Firefighter Funeral In Saucier

Gary Wayne Kistler was a man everyone counted on during any type of emergency in the town of Saucier.

"A lot of the older people in the community had his telephone number on speed dial," says Assistant Chief Rusty Glascoe. "Instead of calling an ambulance or AMR or anybody they'd just call Gary because they knew Gary would come."

Kistler answered his last call on February the 2nd, where he sustained a seemingly insignificant injury that would eventually cost him his life and deprive his large family and a whole town of their hero.

"Gary was working an extrication where there was a fatality involved on Highway 49," says Harrison County Fire Marshall George Mixon. "He cut himself and from that cut he developed septic infection that spread throughout the whole body and caused him to pass away."

News of 65 year olds untimely death brought hundreds of fire fighters and emergency personnel from across the state to the small volunteer department that he helped build and faithfully supported for 30 years.

"We started out with no equipment basically," says Winford Quarrels, a Saucier Volunteer since 1974. "We had one fire truck, and we had to take good money to keep it running and keep it repaired."

From that, Kistler leaves behind one of the best equipped and best trained volunteer departments in Harrison County.

"He's the one that taught me everything that I know in this department," says Stewart Ladner, a volunteer for the past 17 years.

Services ended with the raising of the flag over the new and yet to be officially dedicated fire station that Kistler helped build.

"It had been a dream of his for a long time to have a new station," says Assistant Chief Benny Saucier.

It's a building that his crew vows will one day carry his name.

"Oh yes, I hope it happens," says Quarrels.

It's a town that will never forget that name.

"He'll always be with us," says Glascoe.