Ozarks Life: The service of Donnie and Ronnie Wright

Ronnie Wright passed away on June 17th.
Published: Jun. 23, 2023 at 7:05 AM CDT
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MOUNT VERNON, Mo. (KY3) - The flag outside of the Mount Vernon Fire Station is at half-staff in honor of a longtime servant to Lawrence County, Ronnie Wright.

“We were born on July 29, 1945,” Donnie Wright, Ronnie’s twin brother said.

The two identical twins dedicated their lives to others. In 1965, they joined the Mount Vernon Fire Protection District and were commissioned as Lawrence County deputies. Then in 1968, they became Mount Vernon police officers as well.

We first met the Wrights back in 2018. Ronnie was just about to retire from his other job with the Mount Vernon city taxi service.

Ronnie kept a log of the 268,000 passengers has had in his career, not all of them on the up-and-up.

“I went out to a hotel and I didn’t know he was a bank robber at the time,” Ronnie said in that 2018 interview.

“(A) day or two later,” Donnie explained, “the FBI came out to talk to Ronnie about this guy as they were trying to locate him.”

And Donnie, who was born five minutes before Ronnie, would tease just like older brothers do.

“He drove that tax and he didn’t get out and exercise and he gained a lot of weight,” Donnie laughed.

In the past year though, big brother looked after little brother following a fall Ronnie had. It’s quality time Donnie is thankful for.

“Fourteen months ago I lost my wife,” Donnie said. “He just come over and stayed with me. I got to cooking and fixing stuff and we’d go out.”

This past Saturday, Donnie went to wake up Ronnie so they could go to breakfast... but his brother was gone.

“He went peacefully,” Donnie said. “You know, he just went to bed that night and just didn’t wake up the next morning.”

On the day we visited Donnie, he got his first glimpse at the banners on the fire truck that will lead the hearse. It was Ronnie’s favorite 1972 Chevy.

And a brother’s final act of love, making sure Ronnie will be buried in his firefighters uniform. As Donnie said fighting back the tears, “It’s the last time people will see us dressed alike.”

“We’ve been together from day one. And I feel like part of me, has died,” Donnie said.

Ronnie’s funeral is Friday morning at 10. The fire protection district hopes residents can show their respects following it.

There will be a procession going down McCanse Street to the Business Loop- then east on the loop to Highway 39. They expect it to happen around 10:45.

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