Smyrna firefighters shave heads to honor comrade

"I was going to go in and spend a few minutes with them and brighten my spirits," Richard Conley of Woodstock said.

When he arrived to greet his fellow firefighters, he was greeted by dozens of his co-workers. And their bald heads.

Conley said he wiped away tears as he entered the building. Even Chief Jason Lanyon was getting a clean shave. Conley's son, a Cherokee County firefighter, was also there. His head was also shaved.

"I knew I had friends, but they've been behind me since day one," Conley said Friday afternoon.

Conley said he's recently finished chemotherapy and radiation to treat a tumor at the base of his tongue, but it will be a few more weeks before doctors will know if the treatment was a success.

"I hope this is the end of it," Conley said.

Conley said he's referred to the tumor as Ivan the Terrible during his ordeal. He's unable to swallow and relies on a feeding tube for nourishment. But he's hoping he'll soon be back driving his firetruck, a job he says he loves.

"I work one day on and two days off, so we live together for 24 hours," he says. "Those are my friends."

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