• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Tow trucks accompany man on his final route

THE TOW TRUCK carrying the casket of Eddie Hay on Friday, Oct. 6, was one of 30 or so that accompanied Hays from Versailles to a Frankfort cemetery. "I think he's ecstatic now," Cory Hays said of his father, who was born in Woodford County. (Photo by John McGary)

When Eddie Hay was taken from Clark Funeral Home to Sunset Memorial Gardens Friday, Oct. 6, passersby saw something they'd likely never seen before: 30 or so tow trucks in a row, with the last one carrying his casket. Hay, 63, was a Woodford County native who worked at Carey's Towing and Recovery in Frankfort for most of his adult life. He died Oct. 1 from what his son, Cory Hay, said was likely a pulmonary embolism. When Hay died, co-worker Chris Skaggs and Skaggs's girlfriend, Courtney Baker, spoke with his son, and with his permission, they began reaching out to Hay's colleagues - and competitors. "We pulled together and we called different companies from all over the state of Kentucky, and everyone's kind of pulled through," said Baker. Baker said she'd met Eddie Hay once, about a month before, when he helped her and Skaggs move a couch. "He helped anyone he could and he literally died doing what he loved," she said. Cory Hay, a Morehead resident, got a call the evening before his father's death saying that he'd been taken to the hospital. By the time he arrived, though, his father was already gone. "It's rough. It's hard. I lost mom at 12, two days before Christmas in 1999, and to lose my dad this young, man, it hurts. It hurts a lot," Hay said. Friday's tribute made a painful day less so for him and others who loved his father, he said. "Everything Eddie Carey (the owner of the company) has done for me has helped me tremendously, and they put me in good spirits. I just want to thank everyone for being here and coming and showing their respects and honor today," he said. With the help of deputies from the Woodford County Sheriff's Department, the early afternoon procession headed down Rose Hill Avenue, turned left on Main Street and onto Frankfort Street, and took another left onto Frankfort Road. At the cemetery, some of the drivers who worked many miles away peeled off and went back to work, but several drove inside, Baker said. "It's just a brotherhood. When one goes, we all go," Baker said. "It's heartwarming. Very, very heartwarming." Funeral home operator David Clark was one of many who put in extra time to organize the procession. "We've done a lot of tributes, but the tow trucks are a first," said Clark. "This is the way it should be. It was his life." As he wiped away tears, Cory Hay said his father loved his job. "I think he's ecstatic right now. I think he's smiling uncontrollably, crazy, right now, and very happy about what's going on in remembrance of him," he said.

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