It is an honor for my family and I to be with you today to honor my father, the one you have known in recent years as Chief and Emergency Management Director Jeff Hood. For many years, we have served alongside my dad. In the early years, it was pretty cool to get to go the fire station, climb up on the trucks, and see the lights and sirens run. However as I got older, I can remember becoming aware that people died doing the job that my dad did. Then I remember hearing the preacher talk about “greater love hath no one than this, that they would lay down their life for their friends.” Through my dad’s life, these words became reality for me.
I can remember no stronger illustration of this principle of sacrificial love than the events of one fateful afternoon in 1991. On that day, Officer James Reonas lay shot multiple times on the front porch of a Clayton County home in a hostage situation. Under heavy gunfire, my father crawled up and placed his body on top of Officer Reonas. The only thing between a deranged man with a gun and Officer Reonas’ imminent death if shot again was my dad’s body. Taking pieces of shrapnel to his back, my dad helped Officer Reonas to an awaiting ambulance. Because Jeff Hood lives so too does Officer Reonas.
This is but one incident of many where my father has laid down his life for this community. Over and over again my dad taught us with his life what it means to love. On this day, my father need not be celebrated here beyond what he has been throughout his career…someone who believed in this community enough to give his life for it.
Friends may we all go and do likewise.