Loris officials and firefighters are mourning the loss of one of their devoted staffers following the death of Rodney Hardee following a medical emergency, according to officials with the Loris Volunteer Fire Department.
Hardee, who was in his 60s, was the assistant chief of the volunteer department for more than 20 years and worked for the City of Loris for 41 years, most recently as the public works director, Loris Mayor David Stoudenmire said.
Hardee “devoted a great portion of his life to helping the citizens of Loris and to the town,” Stoudenmire said Tuesday. “Whatever he needed to do, he was there trying to help. Even when Rodney wasn’t feeling good he was right out there helping.”
According to the Loris Volunteer Fire Department’s Facebook page, Hardee was taken to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center for a massive brain bleed on Sunday. Hardee underwent surgery that day, but died overnight Monday.
Hardee also had served in the National Guard and recently retired from service. Hardee’s son, Cole Hardee, returned in June from active duty.
“First and foremost, Rodney was a Christian. In his whole life, whether he was dealing with his personal life, church life or work life, he tried to do what he had been taught to based on his faith. He was person devoted to serving with others,” Stoudenmire said. “He was all the time working and helping somebody. A lot of times you didn’t know what he was doing because he wasn’t much to talk about it.”
When a water or sewer line broke in the city and crews had to repair it, Stoudenmire said Hardee would be one of the first people working alongside the emergency crew to repair the line, no matter the hour of day.
“He was not just a department head, he was right there in the hole working with his guys,” Stoudenmire said. “Everything he did it was service to someone else.”
Dozens of condolences were being left for Hardee’s family on the Loris Volunteer Fire Department’s Facebook page. They included messages such as this one from Billy Strickland: “I have known Chief Hardee my entire career as a friend and brother. He will be missed and his service never forgotten. Rest easy brother, we will take it from here.”
Doris A. Strickland wrote: “I am so sorry to hear this. Mr. Rodney was a good man and always devoted his life to helping others. I will keep the family in my prayers. This is so sad.”
Funeral arrangements were announced on the fire department’s Facebook page. Visitation will be held Thursday from 5-7 p.m. at the Loris Public Safety Complex, 3909 Walnut St. The funeral will be held Friday at 2 p.m. at Loris High School, 301 Loris Lions Road, with a graveside service to follow at Oak Dale Baptist Church, 1695 Oak Dale Road.
Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.