Community Honors Firefighter's Last Wish
By: Mike Shain
PERRYVILLE, Mo. - It was a solemn send off for a hometown hero.
For decades, volunteer firefighter Ted Ballman helped to protect Perryville.
Monday, his friends and family did what they could to grant his dying wish.
Only weeks ago Ted Ballman retired from the Perryville Fire Department.
He was a volunteer who rose from firefighter to captain and served Perryville for 30 years.
The long procession winding from St. Vincent De Paul Church to Mount Hope Cemetery was testimony to what Ted Ballman meant to Perryville.
"This community is much richer for having Ted and we're much richer here at the fire department for having him as a firefighter, lieutenant, a captain and a friend," said Bill Jones, assistant fire chief.
A born leader, on the department he was a stickler for safety.
"He was a great man who didn't know any strangers and he would help anyone," Jones said.
Knowing that he was dying from cancer, Captain Ballman asked that the city's old firetruck be used as his hearse. It took some work to get it running but Ted got his wish.
He was a man dedicated to his church, scouting, University of Missouri extension, antique tractors and an American Red Cross 13 gallon blood donor.
"I've seen unselfishness, a very giving person. He's donated a lot of time to different causes and never expected anything out of it," said Wayne Deroush, a paramedic and firefighter with the department.