If you live in the Greenwood or Slidell area and have had a fire on your property within the past 50 years, chances are Major Teague has come to the rescue.
And if you listen to emergency radio traffic, no doubt you are familiar with Teague’s distinctive gravelly voice.
If you have served on the Greenwood/Slidell Volunteer Fire Department with Teague, there are probably enough stories to fill several newspapers.
On Saturday, friends, family and fellow firefighters said a final goodbye to Teague at his graveside service at Greenwood Cemetery. Teague died Monday, Aug. 27, in Greenwood.
For the past three years, Teague served as an honorary member of the department, but prior to that he had served actively for half a century.
Tim Fletcher served alongside Teague for nearly 40 years. He said Teague preferred the firefighting part of the job.
“He knew his limitations,” Fletcher said. “In his later years, he drove the tank truck. He’d say, ‘I’m not a medical person.’ But one day I walked in on a medical call and Major was doing CPR on a person. He may not have been doing it right, but he was always trying to help.”
Fletcher related another story of a medical call when Teague was the first person on the scene of a man who had been stung by a bee and had a severe allergic reaction. Fletcher said he arrived to find that Teague had tried using an “old remedy.”
“I said, ‘What’s that on his arm?’ And he said, ‘It’s the old remedy. You put honey on it to take the sting away,’” Fletcher said.
Fletcher said Teague would sometimes light a cigarette at a house fire with a butane tank outside.
“We’d say, ‘Major, you can’t do that.’ He’d say, ‘I’m not going to start no fire,’” Fletcher said.
Teague would often work on the fire trucks at the “barn” – the term he always used to describe the fire hall.
His methods might not always have been textbook, but he was dedicated to helping the people of his community, Fletcher said.
At the service Saturday, dispatchers toned out a call for Teague twice, and upon receiving no answer, said, “Firefighter Teague, may he rest in peace.”
“It was pretty emotional for a lot of people,” Fletcher said.