JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Members of the community gathered Saturday to honor the life of a retired lieutenant with Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.
Jimmy Lee Walls died May 29.
His funeral was held Saturday, to remember his 25 years of service.
Walls was born in Alabama and lived in New York, but his family said he made Jacksonville home, too.
On March 11, 1988, Walls began his career with Jacksonville Fire and Rescue. It was a job that made sense for a man who cared about everyone, his daughters said.
“He loves to help people. He loves to rescue people. And he always had the (greatest) advice of ... (how) to give in life,” said Raven Rasberry, his daughter. “And you know, he will be truly missed. And I’m not from Jacksonville, but I know every fire station you all have, he had a story about it. And (in) every community, he had something positive to say about Jacksonville.”
Walls will be remembered as a positive man who believed in fairness and equality.
“He did a lot to help people,” said Jamilah Walls, his daughter. “Whenever there was a crisis going on, he was there to rescue -- save the day. You know, that’s the person he was.”
Jimmy Lee Walls also loved sports, especially basketball, and he played in college at Buffalo State University while finishing his degree in criminal justice.
Walls fought for social justice as an advocate, protesting racial injustices and police brutality that he saw over his 69 years of life.
“Well, he was a man that really loved his community, and he wanted to be sure that everyone was taken care of,” said Jilynda Brown, his daughter. “So, people in the church, people who lived around him, his neighbors, as well as his family -- and we want everyone to know that he’ll be truly loved and missed.”
Walls was a man who filled many roles that his family said they will always cherish: a local hero, father and friend. Walls also served as a dental assistant in the Army reserves and worked as a corrections officer before moving to Florida from Alabama.
Walls would have celebrated his 70th birthday on June 2.