WAAY 31 spoke with the widow of a well-known EMT who was laid to rest in Athens on Monday.
Wayne Dement worked for Athens Emergency Medical Services for 38 years and was loved by many in the community.
His wife, Nancy Dement, told WAAY 31 she buried the love of her life on their 42nd wedding anniversary.
“I’m going to count those 42 years the best years of my life," she said.
That’s how Nancy describes the time she had with her husband, Wayne, before he passed away.
“He was my knight in shining armor," she said.
In fact, Nancy said she still remembers their very first date.
“He handed me a card that said, ‘You are the sunshine of my life.’”
A similar thing happened on their last day together.
“I would sing to him and he would sing to me, ‘You are my sunshine. My only sunshine.’”
Wayne passed away Thursday after he suffered from congestive heart failure.
Nancy said Wayne had health problems for a while and had a near-death experience after a massive heart attack in 2008.
“I said, ‘You know I love you so much. Please don’t leave me.’ He said, ‘I’m not going to leave you.’”
And although he was in and out of the hospital, Nancy says she was happy she got to keep Wayne for another ten years.
And Nancy says poor health didn’t keep Wayne from working. She says he spent as much time as he could with his friends and coworkers at Athens Emergency Medical Services.
“He would’ve worked for free. He loved the ambulance and he loved helping people," she said. "They knew if Wayne was on the scene, it was going to get done.”
Nancy says December is a tough month for her, as she lost her youngest son in a car accident on Christmas Eve last year; but despite her tremendous loss, Nancy still keeps a positive attitude.
“For him to be released out of that body at Christmas, I know it’s hard, but I am just so happy that he’s home now and with our little boy," she said.
Nancy told WAAY 31 her insurance wouldn’t pay for Wayne’s funeral, but thanks to overwhelming support and donations from the community, the service was still able to happen.
If you would like to donate money to help Wayne's family with a tombstone, you can go by Redstone Federal Credit Union in Athens. The account name is "Wayne Dement Donations."