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Posted: January 3, 2009 5:00 a.m.

Accident victim remembered

Submitted photo/

Milford Hefton

They say you should live your life so there's standing room only at your funeral, and that was certainly the case for one Covington man.

More than 600 people turned out for Milford Dale Hefton's visitation on Friday evening, and between 200 to 300 people showed up for his funeral the following day.

Hefton, 47, died Dec. 16 after the dump truck he was driving tipped over and struck a tree on Butler Bridge Road, spilling diesel fuel which ignited.

"I was overwhelmed," said Hefton's wife, Tracy, of all the people that came to the services. "My husband never met a stranger. If he ever stopped to talk to you, you had a friend for life."

The eldest of four siblings in a military family, Hefton was born in Oregon but grew up in Oklahoma.

"He said he moved to Georgia to find his peach," said Tracy, who grew up in the southern half of the state. She laughed as she recalled how she first met Milford at a tent revival. The two were introduced by Tracy's uncle, and she told a friend as they left that night, "That's who I'm going to marry."

Little did she know, Milford had said the same exact thing to Tracy's uncle and aunt. They met again and started dating, and a few months later were married. This coming February would have been their 19th anniversary.

Nolan Hefton remembered that his older brother Milford loved going into the woods to trap raccoons and foxes and riding his favorite horse, Teak.

"He was a hard working man," Nolan said. "There wasn't a lazy bone in his body. He was a man's man of God, and he never was ashamed of telling people about this faith."

Hefton's employer, Scott Harper, agreed.

"He was a guy that really made an impression... He had a high work ethic, and that work ethic was to provide for his family, that he dearly loved."

Hefton enjoyed coaching his sons in softball at Covenant Christian Academy, where he had coached for four years, and was actively involved in volunteering at his sons' schools, including at Oak Hill Elementary where Tracy heads the PTO. Hefton, the breadwinner of the family, had driven trucks for 20 years with Harper's company and WAR Trucking before that, and had started a lawn care business in hopes of spending more time with his four sons, who range in age from 15 to 2.

The family had already gone through a roller coaster of a year when the accident occured. The Hefton's 13-year-old son, Zach, underwent his third open heart surgery earlier this year in January to repair a damaged heart valve, and the family's house was nearly split in two during the Mother's Day tornadoes when a tree fell through their roof and living room. Luckily, no one was hurt during the storms. The family had almost completed the repairs and were planning to move back in at the end of this year.

An account was set up for the Hefton family at People's Bank, under "Hefton Family Fund," at the Conyers and Covington branches. For more information, call (770) 385-6800 or (770) 483-7200.

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