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Magoffin County lays to rest beloved rescue squad captain who died of COVID-19

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Posted at 6:19 PM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 18:19:09-04

SALYERSVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Grief rippled through Magoffin County as the community laid to rest a man who dedicated his life to serving others.

71-year-old Carter Conley founded the Magoffin County Rescue Squad in 1974, and served as its captain every day after.

He passed away on Sept. 12 after a weeks-long battle with COVID-19. Conley was fully vaccinated.

“We expected him to come out because he was doing better and everything and then all of a sudden he just took a turn for the worse,” said longtime friend and Magoffin County Rescue Squad Sergeant Billy Shepherd.

Friends, family and loved ones gathered at Magoffin County High School for Conley’s funeral service on Thursday.

“He’s a great family man. Loved his family, loved his friends. He always stuck by me and I couldn’t have asked for a better friend,” described Salyersville City Mayor Pete Shepherd, who was friends with Conley for 51 years.

A trumpeter played taps as the pallbearers carried the casket out. The funeral procession was led by emergency vehicles representing all the organizations Conley had served his community through.

At the site of the Magoffin County Rescue Squad, a helicopter flew above in honor of Conley.

“He lived and breathed Magoffin County,” said Pete Shepherd.

“I think when you think of Carter you think of a servant and I think if we come to the end of our lives and people think of us the way we think of Carter, then we’ve lived a blessed life,” said Justin Williams, one of Conley’s friends.

Throughout his life, Conley also served as a teacher and member of the volunteer fire department.

Williams said Conley touched countless lives in the process.

“Hebrews 11 says that there are people who this world was not worthy of and Carter is one of those people,” Williams said.

“In the weeks to come in Magoffin County and the squad, we’re going to realize what we’ve lost and it’s a real hero,” Billy Shepherd said.