The Good Stuff: Celebrating Rickey Warren

The Good Stuff: Remembering volunteer firefighter Rickey Warren
The Rickey Warren Memorial Fireworks Show is held on the Fourth of July on the Logansport riverfront.
The Rickey Warren Memorial Fireworks Show is held on the Fourth of July on the Logansport riverfront.

LOGANSPORT, LA (KSLA) - Downtown Logansport is decked out in red, white and blue as the town prepares for its annual 4th of July fireworks show.

"Whenever we first started doing it, it was just a bunch of us with regular fireworks running around with a cigarette lighter," explained DeSoto Parish Fire District 1 firefighter Jody Warren.

Now their riverfront pyrotechnics carry much more than just fireworks over Sabine River, District 1 Fire Chief Rusty Canton said.

The show also carries a lot of memories and a tribute to former Assistant Fire Chief Rickey Warren.

"From the time I was growing up, Rickey was always at the Fire Department. Always with the fire truck," Canton recalled.

He and Rickey fast became friends, volunteering much of their free time with the Fire Department.

Canton actually was with Rickey at Fire Station 1 when Rickey suffered a mild stroke at the age of 36.

"He just looked out of sorts for a moment. He sat back down and he couldn't speak," Canton recalled.

After years of running the pump panel on the fire truck, Rickey later would return to work, but as a dispatcher.

"He smiled and grinned. And anytime on the radio, you'd hear his voice, he could get you anywhere you needed to go."

In 2007, Rickey's voice of comfort and leadership during some of the toughest times for a firefighter suddenly was silenced.

He died after having a heart attack while he slept.

"I had to make the call to 911 to dispatch the ambulance," his widow, Lona, remembered.

"And I knew as soon as I dispatched it out, I'd have half of the Fire Department here in 15 minutes."

In the years that passed, many of Rickey's fellow firefighters would check in on her and Jody.

"We grew up together, we hunted together. He was like a brother to me," fellow volunteer firefighter Kevin Lee shared.

Soon after, Canton led the charge to rename the town's Fourth of July celebration as the Rickey Warren Memorial Fireworks Show.

Rickey's son Jody has practically followed his father's footsteps, from hanging around the Fire Department when he was a kid to volunteering by the time he turned 15, to becoming a mainstay on the department.

"My dad done it, my grandfather done it, and his dad. I really enjoy it. It's a good thing. I love helping people," Jody Warren explained.

And through the years, Lona's smile has returned in the 11 years since Rickey's passing.

She's found love again, and deservingly so.

"My love for her. Who can explain love," Lee revealed.

He explained that he and Lona had always been good friends. Over time, the two eventually grew closer, but only with Jody's unofficial permission.

"I thought it was cool. I've known Kevin my whole life. I love him to death," Jody said with a smile.

Their newlywed love for each other has reached one year and counting.

And their love for Rickey Warren will continue forever.

"When those fireworks are going off," Lona shared, "I can just hear him laughing because he always like to laugh and have a good time."

The Rickey Warren Memorial Fireworks Show is held along the Logansport riverfront over Sabine River.

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