Lights flashed and sirens blasted in the front yard of Deputy Chief Greg Yancey’s residence late in the afternoon Jan. 12 as the officer spent his final hours surrounded by his family and brothers and sisters in blue.
Just prior, a procession of first responder vehicles lined up at Grace Fellowship Christian Church just down the road from Yancey’s home. The law enforcement community from multiple counties had gathered with Yancey’s team from Covenant Care Hospice.
“He will enjoy the parade through his window,” said Covenant Care Hospice Social Worker Jimmy King. “He will be able to hear the sirens and feel the connection with his brothers and sisters.”
King said when patients are admitted to Covenant Care Hospice, they are offered an opportunity through Covenant’s My Wish initiative to create special memories. Due to Yancey’s rapid decline, his family felt a parade of lights and sirens would be the perfect way to recognize and honor a man who spent 33 years in law enforcement.
“He was very much a lover of law enforcement,” King said. “He actually went with us on home visits to make sure we were safe.”
Yancey was admitted to Covenant’s care after multiple setbacks with his health. Yancey experienced heart failure this past May and had quadruple bypass surgery in the summer. At the same time, a tumor on his spine was quickly metastasizing into stage 4 cancer.
On this afternoon, Yancey was not very alert as he was surrounded by loved ones but his hospice team said he was still responsive at times, especially to the sound of a police scanner. Within hours of the final farewell of a lights and sirens parade through his yard, Yancey passed.
Yancey started in law enforcement in 1990 with Holmes County as a deputy and jailer, then worked in Bay County from 2009 to 2012, until he joined Bonifay Police Department.
Greg Yancey packed a lot into 52 years of life. He spent 29 years married to the love of his life, Cindy Yancey. They shared a large family of four children - Jillian Hobson, Courtney Mitchem, Scotty Sheridan and Emily Bragdon - and nine grandchildren.
Yancey’s career had a way of defining his family’s life.
“For several years, I wanted the scanner in my house when he wasn’t here so that I could hear him and see that he was okay,” Cindy said.
Cindy recalls many close calls for her husband while on duty over the years. Yancey was second to respond when Deputy Chief Lonnie Lindsey was gunned down by assailants who had just robbed a liquor store in 1996.
Yancey’s daughters said they banded together while growing up because friends would sometimes shy away because their father was a cop. They remember getting stares as they were dropped off at school in a cruiser.
When he wasn’t on duty, Yancey loved to camp and fish and spend time with his grandchildren.
Yancey’s colleagues and family describe him as a very warm and straight forward guy who got along with everyone. At home and on duty, his presence had a way of making people listen up and straighten up.
“His words hold value and meaning. It didn’t matter if you wanted to listen or not,” said daughter Emily Bragdon. “It was always with good-hearted intentions. He was a good daddy. He always knew what to say and when to say it.”
For more information about Covenant Hospice services, call 850-482-8520.
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