Photo courtesy of Hospice & Palliative Care of Iredell County

A Mooresville Fire Department engine waits to escort the body of former firefighter and police officer Henry Sink to Mooresville on Sunday at the Gordon Hospice House in Statesville. The Mooresville, Statesville and Troutman Police Departments also participated in the escort.

​Daughter: ‘It just flooded back through his soul’

Posted at 1:03 PM on Dec 5, 2017


Special to

Even in the final days of his life, retired Mooresville firefighter and police officer Henry Sink had a true servant’s heart and an unwavering will to protect others.

Sink, who passed away on Sunday at the Gordon Hospice House in Statesville, was in his room at the in-patient home when dust in a heating vent caused the smoke alarms to sound.

The 90-year-old Sink had been unresponsive for more than a week, but when he heard the alarm, the firefighter was ready to answer the call.

“It just flooded back through his body and soul,” said daughter Catherine Frye, who was in the room alongside her father and mother, Mary, when the alarm sounded. “He took a deep breath, like he was smelling and then he said ‘Smoke! Make the call!’ and he tried to get out of bed.”

Frye said the strength her father had in that moment was incredible, as he tried to help those responding to the situation. But that reaction came as no surprise to Sink’s family, who said he has had a lifetime of service to others.

Following World War II, Sink returned to his hometown of Mooresville and became a volunteer firefighter. Eventually, he would become one of the first paid firefighters for the Town of Mooresville. He then underwent training and became a Mooresville police officer, a position he held for more than 18 years. At the time of his death, he was the oldest retired police officer in Mooresville, his daughter said.

On Sunday, after he passed away, Sink was given a tribute fitting of his service, as more than a dozen members of the Mooresville police and fire departments gathered at the Gordon Hospice House to escort their brother to Cavin-Cook Funeral Home in Mooresville.

“They thanked us for my father’s service to the Town of Mooresville and they lined the hallway as an honor guard,” Frye said. “There were police cars and a firetruck, and they said they were going to escort us all the way to Mooresville.”

At each intersection along the route, Frye said, there were cars from the Statesville, Troutman and Mooresville police departments ensuring their safe passage.

“It was an incredible tribute to be escorted home in that manner … it was the most beautiful thing,” she said. “My father led a life of service to others, and it meant a great deal to us.”

Staff at the Gordon Hospice House were also touched by the honor showed to Sink and his family, said Director Dana Bell.

“It’s incredible that they would do that to honor one of their own,” she said. “We were grateful to help make that happen.”

Arrangements for Henry Sink are under the care of Cavin-Cook Funeral Home. A celebration of life service is planned at a later date.

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