KEAVY, Ky. (WYMT) - Fire officials in Laurel County say he was instrumental in building the Keavy Volunteer Fire Department into what it is today. But on Friday, Ronnie Bales died after a seven year battle with cancer. His funeral was held on Tuesday at Locust Grove Cemetery in Keavy.
Fire trucks from Laurel County and across the state drove in a procession honor the Keavy Volunteer Fire Department Chief, Ronnie Bales, at his funeral.
"He was a real good man. He disciplined me when I needed it. and he's showed me how to lead," said Mike Bales, who is Ronnie Bales' son and the Captain of the Keavy Volunteer Fire Department.
As well as playing a key role in bringing the fire department to Keavy, Ronnie Bales was the President of the Alliance of Laurel County Fire Departments for almost 20 years.
"Nobody really realizes. I've been with him all the time and I don't even know everything he's done," Mike Bales said.
Law enforcement officials say the people of Laurel County are safer because of everything Ronnie Bales did during his life.
"He always knew what he needed to do. And everything I've ever seen Ronnie Bales do was either for the betterment of the Keavy community or for Laurel County as a whole," said Sheriff John Root, who has known Ronnie Bales for more than ten years.
But now, there is no more work to be done by Ronnie Bales. His number at the station, Unit 200 of the Keavy Volunteer Fire Department, was retired at the funeral.
"I just can't express what a loss that this is going to be to our county," Sheriff Root said.
And to those who admire dedication and hard work.
Ronnie Bales was 68 years old and leaves behind his wife, Gail, and two children.