Friday, January 7, 2011

Favorite fire truck gives chief final ride

My favorite image of Mark Souders is one many of us have shared.

It’s the annual DeSoto Heritage Festival Parade and the burly Bradenton Fire Chief is standing in the open cab of that shiny red antique fire truck with Mayor Wayne Poston.

Souders is beaming, waving and throwing beads to the crowds lining Manatee Avenue.

“Always had that big smile,” firefighter Terry Wilson said.

“That fire truck was his baby,” Capt. Tom Woods said.

“Riding in the parade was one of his favorite things,” said Will Newsome, a retired battalion chief. “He looked forward to it.”

The restored 1926 American LaFrance will have a more solemn role today.

It will carry Souders’ casket.

Read more in Sunday's Mannix About Manatee.

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