Firefighters throughout the region turned out to honor Nutt, 49, of Kennesaw, who died of an apparent heart attack while responding to a wreck on Thursday.
During the funeral service at Roswell Street Baptist Church, senior pastor Dr. Ernest Easley read a letter from Gov. Nathan Deal honoring Nutt’s service.
Bob Weatherford, a member of the Patriot Guard Riders as well as the Acworth Board of Aldermen, was present with about 20 of his fellow Riders, who lined the church walkway carrying U.S. flags.
“For those of you from our firefighters from across the state, and some of you from outside the state, if you never got to meet Lonnie Nutt, you missed one of the pleasures in life,” Marietta Fire Chief Jackie Gibbs said. “Because Lonnie was a firefighter’s firefighter.”
Mayor Steve Tumlin saluted Nutt.
“On behalf of a grateful city, we do celebrate today in honor of the life of an extraordinary public servant, firefighter engineer Lonnie Nutt,” Tumlin said. “He exemplified the best of what we know and expect in our extraordinary Marietta Fire Department.”
The fire department’s honor guard, decked out in their ceremonial uniforms, carried Nutt’s casket, wrapped in the U.S. flag, from the church to the top of a fire truck that was draped in black. The procession carried Nutt to Kennesaw Memorial Park for burial.
Along the way, in front of Marietta High School, the procession passed under two crossed ladder trucks.
Ronnie Nutt of Edmond, Okla., father of the fallen firefighter, said his only son loved being a firefighter.
“He loved these people, he loved his job, and he loved his town, and it’s easy to see why,” Nutt said. “This town’s got a lot going for it. We have been overwhelmed with kindness ever since we got here. I don’t even have the words to describe it.”
Since joining the Marietta Fire Department nearly 20 years ago, Nutt has served as a firefighter, inspector and investigator, in addition to fire engineer.
Nutt said he would often try to convince his son to move back to Oklahoma to no avail.
“He said it was just too important to him, and he loved it too much,” Nutt said. “It was a passion, an absolute passion. It was not just the job. They’re better than family, they’re tighter than family. They’re more dependent on each other than family members usually are.”
Nutt said he had never seen a funeral as large as the one held for his son.
“Of course you have to stop and think he died in the line of duty, and that’s the way they treat those who have died in the line of duty,” Nutt said. “This is a special group right here, these firemen.”
During the services, the Marietta Fire Stations were backfilled by area fire departments to allow the city firefighters to attend the funeral.
At the interment ceremony, the honor guard folded the U.S. flag that covered Nutt’s coffin and presented it to his wife, Rosa Nutt of Kennesaw, along with his fire helmet.
This is the first line of duty death the Marietta Fire Department has had since it formed in 1854, Gibbs said.
“I think it was a beautiful service,” Gibbs said. “I think it was very fitting. When a firefighter dies in the line of duty, they’re serving their local community and fire departments turn out for each other when they lose a firefighter in the line of duty, and that’s what happened here. Those fire departments come and they really offer lots and lots of support.”