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Pogue laid to rest with full honors

Scores of fire engines from all over Arkansas and emergency vehicle escorted Chief Pogue to his final resting place. Photo by Capt. Michael Cossey
Scores of fire engines from all over Arkansas and emergency vehicle escorted Chief Pogue to his final resting place. Photo by Capt. Michael Cossey

Oak Grove Fire Chief Randy Pogue was laid to rest on Feb. 28 with full honors. His casket was carried by his department’s fire engine with an honor guard of his men serving as pallbearers riding along with him for the last time.

Scores of fire engines and emergency vehicle led him to the services in Jacksonville and for his internment.

He was eulogized as a veteran public servant who risked his own life time after time to rescue or save a stranger. And it was duly noted that he was a volunteer doing all that dangerous work for virtually nothing but the good will.

Pogue was praised as a family man who not only took care of his extended family but who set such an example that his son chose to follow him and became a volunteer firefighter in his department.

It was noted that Pogue died doing what he loved best, serving the public in his roll as fire chief.

Maumelle’s fire chief John Payne said his death was the fifth this year tying Arkansas’ record of fire deaths in one year. Payne said the total includes North Little Rock police officer Jake Harrell, who was killed in a plane crash while on patrol for wild fires in rural Arkansas. Harrell, Payne said, is considered firefighters because he also worked for the Arkansas Forestry Commission.

Three Maumelle firefighters volunteered to man Oak Grove Fire District # 25’s Fire Station # 2 to provide protection for the district’s territory so Pogue’s men could all attend his funeral.

It was an impressive send off to a man loved by his community.

Gov. Mike Beebe ordered state flags around the state be flown at half-staff in honor of Pogue.

Beebe also issued a proclamation.

It reads:

WHEREAS: A dedicated and courageous firefighter, Oak Grove Fire Chief Randall “Randy” Ray Pogue, born in Fayetteville, Tennessee, on March 10, 1964, was deeply loved by his family and many friends, and tragically died on February 19th from injuries sustained in the line of duty while responding to an emergency call on February 2nd; and

WHEREAS: Chief Pogue was the beloved son of the late William L. Pogue and the late Margie Betty Wilkerson, and the dear stepson of the late Finley Ray; the devoted brother of William “Jeff” Pogue of Long Island, New York, and Ray Pogue of South Carolina; the loving husband of Veronica Villalobos-Pogue of North Little Rock; the proud father of Randall Pogue II, Gregory Pogue, Josephine Pogue, all of North Little Rock, and Rhonda Pogue-Smiley of Texas; and the devoted grandfather of Robert, Davis, and Logan Smiley of Conway and Jase Lockhart of North Little Rock; as well as a cherished friend to scores of people from across the community and region; and

WHEREAS: Pogue became a volunteer firefighter at the age of 17, and distinguished himself quickly, serving for the past 12 years as Oak Grove’s Fire Chief, also serving for nine years as a U.S. Air Force Fireman, and with the Arkansas Forestry Commission, and the Arkansas State Police as a mechanic supervisor; and

WHEREAS: As a veteran firefighter, Chief Pogue was dedicated and passionate about his work, helping to train others, and serving as an example to his fellow firefighters. Always the consummate professional and a dedicated public servant, Randy was proud of the vital role he played in protecting others through his work in providing for the safety of all of our citizens; and

WHEREAS: Randy was a loyal friend to those who served with him, an active participant in his community, serving as a member of the Pulaski County Fire Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and the International Association of Firefighters; and

WHEREAS: Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, firefighters and police officers are no longer taken for granted. They are on the front lines every day performing a service that is critical to the well-being of our citizens, and we are aware of their efforts and are grateful for their service and sacrifice; and

WHEREAS: All Arkansas citizens owe Fire Chief Pogue a lasting debt of gratitude for his bravery and his heroism as we pay tribute to his faithful service and extend deepest sympathy to his family and loved ones;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, MIKE BEEBE, Governor of the State of Arkansas, by virtue of the authority vested in me by law, in tribute to the memory of Randy Pogue and as an expression of public sorrow, do hereby direct that State flag of Arkansas be flown at half-staff on Friday, February 28, 2014.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Arkansas to be affixed this 25th day of February, in the year of our Lord 2014.

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