While on duty at a structure fire on April 24, 2015, Lt. Ricky Thurman collapsed from a heart attack. He succumbed to his injuries on May 4, 2015.
Lt. Thurman has been involved in fighting fire since the age of 16 and was employed full-time with the Swainsboro Fire Department since 1988. When he passed, he had 27 years of service. He had many certificates, such as Firefighter Module 3, HAZMAT awareness, Alternative Teaching Methods for Fire Safety Education (better known as Clown School), and certificates too many to list from the Georgia Public Safety Training Center. He was Fireman of the Year of 1991, 2010, and 2011, as well as some earlier years.
He was a member of the Georgia Firefighters Clown Society, and he was the Boss Clown named Snickers. Lt. Thurman played Santa Claus, riding around on the fire truck, and was active with the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation boot drives.
He loved to joke around, liked hugs, liked to eat German chocolate cake, liked to eat at Sonic. If you saw the fire truck at Sonic, you knew he was on duty. All you had to say was you wanted the “Ricky Special,” and the staff knew what you wanted.
He was also the peacekeeper at the station. He was always happy and wanted everyone else happy too. He would always ask everybody, “Why you mad?” Lt. Thurman was always thinking of others. He had a love for children, and they were naturally drawn to him. Lt. Thurman loved his family and his extended fire department family. Lt. Thurman was a man who is missed by all who knew him. He was a member of Dellwood Baptist Church.
Survivors include his wife of 25 years, Terry Scott Thurman; a son, Joseph Thurman; a daughter, August Nichole Thurman; and his father Bobby Thurman, all from Swainsboro, Georgia. He is also survived by his sister, Lisa Braswell, of South Carolina.