SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Following a poignant and emotional service, the Shreveport firefighters on Saturday stood at attention as the flag-draped casket carrying the body SFD Firefighter Leonard Coney was loaded into Medic 5, the EMS unit in which he had served, for his final ride to the cemetery.
Coney, 41, was exposed to COVID-19 while on the job and died Jan. 6 following complications from the virus, and the ambulance was where he had saved so many lives.
At the beginning of the hour-and-a-half service Saturday afternoon in Shreveport’s First Baptist Church, Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins spoke, praising Coney’s spirit, strength and courage and his desire to help others, despite the COVID-19 risk.
Perkins said Coney used his gifts – of selflessness, courage and love – with his crew at Station No. 5, his family and the citizens of Shreveport, and read a declaration making Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, “Leonard Coney Day” in Shreveport.
“We will never know how many lives he saved,” said Shreveport Chief Scott Wolverton as he addressed the congregation, calling Coney “special” – not only to his crew at Fire Station No. 5, but to all the Shreveport Fire Department and most of all, to the people he served.
Coney was “the gentle giant with the heart of gold,” Wolverton said. An then brought smiles as he spoke of Coney’s Station N. 5’s name for him, “Sweet tones by Cones,” explaining that Coney gained the name for singing softly at the Station, as well as for his gentle as he rode in back of the ambulance with sick or injured patients on the way to the hospital.
Local 514 IAF President, Capt. Barbara Smalley, who also spoke at the service, echoed Wolverton’s sentiments. She said as he got into the back of the ambulance with a person, they would hear him softly say, “My name is Leonard and I’m going to be with you on the way to the hospital.
All the speakers spoke of Coney’s kindness, compassion, humility, gratitude and willingness to serve. “We’ll never know how many he saved,” Wolverton said, adding that Coney was “a good Samaritan that did not pass by on the other side of the street.”
Sellers awarded Coney’s family the Shreveport Fire Department’s ‘Line of Duty Death Medal” at the service.
Coney has been a member of the SFD since Aug. 2007, serving almost 14 years. He spent his career working on C-Shift and was assigned to Medic 5 at Fire Station No. 5 on Stoner Ave.