Flags in Forsyth County flew at half-staff on Monday, honoring the recent passing of longtime local firefighter Lawrence Thomas Mitro.
Mitro, a 56-year-old Air Force veteran and one of Forsyth County’s first full-time firefighters, died on Christmas morning following a battle with cancer, officials say.
Mitro came to Forsyth County and joined the fire department in 1998 as part of the “Dirty Thirty,” one of the first groups of full-time paid firefighters in the county.
Prior to working for the Forsyth County Fire Department, Mitro served as a firefighter at the Savannah Airport and was a member of the United States Air Force, serving in Operation Desert Storm near the heart of the conflict, friends say.
According to those who knew him best, Mitro lived a life of loyalty, duty and dependability.
"I was stationed with Larry for three years and he never failed me," Lt. Lucas Henderson of the Forsyth County Fire Department said on Monday. "If I asked him to do something, he would do it and I could count on him to be that guy. He was my dependable firefighter riding in the back."
Henderson said that dependability was what Mitro was known for in all aspects of his life.
“If he was your friend, he was your friend forever,” he said. “Dependable firefighter Mitro, that's him."
According to Henderson, his friend was also known for his intense love of M&M’s candy and his fascination with Tesla cars.
"He had a passion for M&M's and Tesla," Henderson said. "[Mitro] would come into the station with a bag of M&M's that he had bought several bags of and combined into one large gallon bag, and would eat them all the time. That's what we would joke about, Larry and his M&Ms."
After such a long career touching so many lives, Mitro’s death has had a huge impact on the Forsyth County Fire Department community, Henderson said.
"Larry was a good soul, a good firefighter and he's going to leave a big void," he said.
Mitro is survived by his parents, Thomas and Constance Mitro of Cumming; his fiancée, Denise Mills of Texas; a daughter, Lauren Mitro of Cumming; several siblings and other family members.
A memorial service for Mitro was held at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Cumming on Monday, Dec. 30.
Mitro will be inurned with Air Force honors at Georgia National Cemetery on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020.
According to an obituary by McDonald and Son Funeral Home, in lieu of flowers mourners are asked to make a donation in Mitro’s name to The Burn Foundation of Georgia, The BADGE of Forsyth County, or The Benefit Fund of Forsyth County.