In a bitter sweet moment Thursday, Captain Kenneth Haygood bid farewell to Greenville Fire Department, a place he has called home for nine years.
Fellow firefighters and mentors hosted a farewell celebration in his honor June 21 at Fire Station No. 1.
Haygood began his fire fighting career Oct. 18, 2010. He worked his way up the ranks from rookie to captain. He was very passionate about the job and took pride in helping Greenville residents and his fellow fire fighters.
Despite his dedication and passion for the job, a tragic accident altered the course of Haygood’s career.
On Aug. 6, 2016, Haygood and his best friend Orlando Causey were coming home from Leland and were involved in a single vehicle accident. The car left the roadway and both were rushed to the hospital.
Haygood was in a medically-induced coma for a month. and suffered a broken hip, fema, ribs and spine fractures, as well as collaspsing lungs.
Haygood’s road to recovery was long but rewarding. He was at the University of Mississippi Medical Center for three months, Yazoo Rehabilitation Center for another three months, where he learned to walk again and continued going to rehab until he completely recovered.
In that following year, Haygood came back to his old stomping grounds at the fire department. Before the accident, he was eligible for the captain position. When he returned, he took the test and went through the steps to become captain and shortly after he was named captain. After months of working, things became more difficult for Haygood due the injuries he faced and he knew in his heart he had to make a decision.
“I hate to see him leave,” Chief Ruben Brown Sr. said. “He was not only a hard worker but a team leader as well. It is a bittersweet moment but we know it’s for the best.”
Haygood’s final day was May 2.
As mentioned by his mentors and co workers, Haygood loved his job and didn’t mind lending a hand to anyone in need.
Thomas Wade III, one of his co workers, appreciated the love shown to him as he started out in the profession.
“He was my first driver and we were together for about a year and a half,” Wade said. “He taught me how to get through the tough battles of this job and how to keep a leveled head. We shared a lot of laughs and naps as well. I love him like a brother.”
Wade experienced a similar accident shortly after Haygood. He was thankful for the love, conversations, prayers and support that Haygood showed him in his time of recovery.
Haygood is a Greenville native. He is a graduate of Greenville High Class of 2005.
“It’s hard watching him leave a place that he loves so much,” said Causey. “I look forward to seeing what he has set for the future.”
Haygood said the hardest part about leaving is knowing he is leaving behind years of memories, the camaraderie of being with his brothers and saving lives.