HARROD — An emotional week filled with memories, laughter, tears and heartache filled the community of Harrod last week. An outpouring of love, thoughts and prayers came in abundance for the family of Allen Hughes who died suddenly on Jan. 18, leaving friends and family in shock. At only 52 years old, Hughes, described as someone who would help anyone at anytime, was gone.

Losing Hughes so quickly has touched many in this area and surrounding communities. He owned his own business, was a true family man and was also a firefighter for Harrod. A firefighter, someone who would put his life on the line for anyone. This is a family outside of family. They have lost a brother. They are grieving and trying to go one without one of their own: Firefighter 56.

A memorial service was held on Friday, Jan. 24, followed by a tribute that has left many without words to describe all of their emotions. Hughes' casket was lifted up by his fellow firefighters in full gear, to be carried on top of a fire truck to his final resting place in Westminster. The caravan of fire trucks, rescue squads, hazmat and other township EMS personnel led the rest of those with funeral flags on their vehicles as they entered Harrod. Going past the Harrod Fire Department and under the huge flag, the lights were on, the sirens were sounding and the processional continued on in his honor.

Once at the cemetery, Hughes was lifted gently down from the truck and carried to the tent. Then came the last call for Firefighter 56. As the Allen County voice sounded over the radios, there was an eerie silence that filled the blustery cold air. Wind was pushing the snow and the biting cold had fingers and toes numb, but that silence broke though all of it.

As the crowd stood there, watching the firefighters salute their fallen brother one last time, there was a calmness to the wind. Above the tent for just a few seconds, a slight rainbow appeared and was suddenly gone. An amazing tribute to honor a man that has touched so many has left an imprint on the hearts of everyone in attendance that day.