“He was, who he was, and he was always Micah,”
Forty-three-year-old Micah Wakeman died last week in a farming
accident in rural Emden. He leaves behind a wife, Laura, and four
children. He also leaves behind an incredible legacy.
Wakeman will be remembered forever for his impact he had on the
lives of others. He served his family, his church and his community
selflessly. He had a passion for farming and started driving a
tractor at a young age.
A smiling Micah Wakeman in a
firefighter's cut-off t-shirt with a child hanging on was a familiar
sight around the community. Here the child is his oldest daughter,
He was happily a father to the fatherless. He and his family opened
their hearts and their home, fostering many children in need over
the years. More often than not, when Wakeman was spotted around
school functions he had a small child in his arms and other children
clinging to him. The same was the case as he traveled the world.
Wakeman touched lives all over the globe as he led mission trips
around the world. His journeys took him to Uganda, Haiti, Ethiopia
At present, he was scheduled to guide a mission trip to Uganda at
the end of July. This trip would have been his third trip to Uganda.
The first trip was a medical missions trip and the second trip was
more orphan and community care, according to Deanne Mott. “Now this
time will also be a lot of orphan and community care, but he raised
funds to build a well,” said Mott of Wakeman. “So the well has been
built, but it was funded entirely by the team at Mount Pulaski
Christian Church and his hope was to do another one at some point.
Because they currently, where we have served, they did not have
access to clean water. So this is their first opportunity in their
community to have access to clean water, with this well.” When the
group travels to Uganda next month they will see for the first time
Wakeman’s dream being a reality.
Wakeman also took a group of youths from the Mount Pulaski Christian
Church on a mission trip to Canada.
Back home in the United States his travels took him all around
central Illinois as he followed his daughters, Ashton, Emily and
Josie, in school sports and activities.
His “day job” was serving as a firefighter in Decatur. He served the
city of Decatur for 16 years at the time of his death. Fire
departments from all over central Illinois were represented on
Tuesday as firefighters showed up in full uniform to lay their
brother to rest. The large gathering of these brave men and women in
uniform was a sight to see. As one wife of a firefighter said,
“Firefighters don’t do anything small.”
Wakeman was so busy helping others, it’s a wonder when he slept. He
was an elder at the Mount Pulaski Christian Church, where he also
taught Sunday School, served as a youth group leader, and could
often be found cleaning and doing maintenance jobs around the
church. Vacuuming the Family Life Center was a particular favorite
of Wakeman’s. He once explained to Weber, who had tried to vacuum
without Wakeman’s blessing, that it was his worship time. Weber left
the vacuum alone.
Wakeman was the director of the Mount Pulaski EMS. First responders
also showed out in full force to pay respect to their leader who
meant so much to them.
Wakeman was even associated with the Emmaus Community and
participated in the “Walk to Emmaus.” It was on a “Walk” that he
received a small wooden cross. Wakeman’s widow, Laura, clutched that
small wooden cross on this day.
While all of his accomplishments are truly amazing, first and
foremost he was a servant of Christ.
“He would want this to be a celebration of Jesus,” said Weber of
Wakeman. With that being said, Weber announced in his opening
remarks, “We will worship.”
Scripture readings and a prayer commenced before members of the
Mount Pulaski Christian Church formed a band onstage. Tracy Dyer
immediately informed the crowd they had been duped. “You may have
thought you were attending a funeral. This is a celebration of a man
who has made an impact all over the world,” said Dyer. “Several
years ago Micah made a commitment to celebrate his Savior.”
With that introduction, the band performed “The Stand” and Wakeman’s
oldest daughter, Ashton, joined the group on stage to sing. The band
would also take the stage later on in the service to sing “Alive,”
“Christ Is Risen,” “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” and “Holding On To
You.” Each time Ashton returned to the stage and she sang more
beautifully than ever.
In addition to Weber and Dyer speaking, J.T Thomason and Ryan “Bob”
Mott also took the microphone and spoke from the heart about the
impact Wakeman had on them and others.
Thomason traveled from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on this day to
speak and he talked about Wakeman being a “hand washer.” He further
explained that notion by telling the story of Elijah and Elisha, two
of the most well-known prophets of Israel.
“Micah joyfully, faithfully and consistently washed other people’s
hands,” Thomason said. He called Wakeman “an absolutely amazing man”
and talked of how he lived to serve the Lord. “Micah did some of the
most courageous things with his life,” he added.
Thomason also questioned whether or not Wakeman slept. He told the
story of how once when the Wakeman family was vacationing in Cape
Girardeau, Wakeman was busy changing the oil in Thomason’s car and
fixing things at the house for the Thomason family. “His hands are
all over my life,” said Thomason. “No one served his church and
community like Micah Wakeman,” he added.
Thomason called Wakeman “a man of humility” and looked directly at
Laura and the kids when he said, “I am a better man because of Micah
Wakeman - because of the way he loved and served me.”
“He made everyone around him better,” Thomason told the crowd in
attendance. Upon hearing the news of Wakeman’s death, Thomason said,
“I felt like Superman died.”
Ryan Mott, Wakeman’s best friend, spoke following Thomason at the
service and he gladly provided his words to LDN:
“To most people, I’m Ryan.
But Micah wasn’t most people. To Micah, I was Bob. And Micah was my
I have struggled for the words that I might share with you today.
- What do you say about a man who used exclamation points and often
multiple after every sentence of a text?
- A man who would travel half-way around the world because there
were children who needed a father-figure.
- A man who would sit for 13 straight hours on a plane because he
refused to use an airplane bathroom. - A man who used a simple
wristband that said “I am second” to witness to anyone that would
listen to him talk about his Jesus.
- A man who was so competitive that he showed up to our small group
Christmas party with a white board around his neck because he’d just
had his tonsils out but he was determined to not only play games but
- A man who has been called a hero by many but who would have pulled
you aside and shared that his hero was Jesus and yours should be
"What do you say about a man who was truly larger than life? What do
you say about the man who baptized your son?
"Micah struggled for words too. Those of you who experienced Micah
sharing a communion mediation know that he often tugged at his shirt
and cleared his throat. And when he got to the scripture it was
based on and began to speak of Jesus’ sacrifice at the very minimum,
he would choke up, but often a tear would fall.
"It also looked like he was wringing his hands, but he wasn’t. He
was rubbing a small wooden cross that he was given on his Walk to
Emmaus. A Walk to Emmaus is a three-day journey that presents the
theme of God’s grace, how that grace comes alive in the Christian
community and how it’s expressed in the world. You also discover how
grace is real in your life, how you live a life of grace, and how
you bring that grace to others. After Micah experienced the journey,
he insisted on sponsoring me on a Walk.
"The small wooden cross that Micah would hold for every communion
meditation, during prayer, and in times of difficulty, has been
rubbed smooth. It looks weathered and well worn because it was.
Micah always went to the cross in times of need.
"He also had two well worn copies of My Utmost for His Highest,
another gift he would have received on his Walk. I believe he would
have wanted me to share the words that are written on the pages of
Excerpt shared from My Utmost for His Highest:
“Where our individual desire dies and
sanctified surrender lives. One of the greatest hinderances in
coming to Jesus is the excuse of our own individual temperament. We
make our temperament and our natural desires barriers to coming to
Jesus. Yet the first thing we realize when we do come to Jesus is
that He pays no attention whatsoever to our natural desires.
[to top of second column]
We have the idea that we can dedicate
our gifts to God. However, you cannot dedicate what is not yours.
There is actually only one thing you can dedicate to God, and that
is your right to yourself. If you will give God your right to
yourself, He will make a holy experiment out of you—and His
experiments always succeed. The one true mark of a saint of God is
the inner creativity that flows from being totally surrendered to
In the life of a
saint there is this amazing Well, which is a continual Source of
original life. The Spirit of God is a Well of water springing up
perpetually fresh. A saint realizes that it is God who engineers his
circumstances; consequently there are no complaints, only
unrestrained surrender to Jesus. Never try to make your experience a
principle for others, but allow God to be as creative and original
with others as He is with you.
"If you abandon everything to Jesus, and
come when He says, “Come,” then He will continue to say, “Come,”
through you. You will go out into the world reproducing the echo of
Christ’s “Come.” That is the result in every soul who has abandoned
all and come to Jesus.
"Have I come to Him? Will I come now?”
So you and I are left with these questions. Have I
come to Him? Will I come now? Micah would tell you to take every
moment captive, to not waste time and say "Yes" right now!”
Thomason's testament to Wakeman's passion for life in and through
Christ deeply stirred all present.
Weber again took the podium to offer readings and remarks. He began
by saying that Wakeman moved around a lot as a child because of his
father’s job. Jokingly he added from Wakeman’s parents that, “Micah
was the first in the family to make friends and the first to know
where the ER was.”
Upon mentioning the places that Wakeman had traveled, Weber said,
“All he wanted was for everyone to know Jesus.”
Weber said that in the last week, “We all have been led by God to do
something more because of Micah.” Weber brought to attention that
Wakeman was not perfect, he had a temper and he was Cub fan. Weber
believed that if Wakeman had a question for Jesus, it would be, “Why
“Micah believed in CIY (Christ in Youth) and was totally in love
with Jesus,” offered Weber in his remarks. Weber relayed stories of
Wakeman truly enjoying seeing the youth jump and rejoice at CIY, and
often Wakeman was the leader of the pack.
The Wakeman family in 2015 when oldest daughter
Ashton was a Logan County Fair Queen Contestant. She is surrounded
by her dad Micah and mom Laura. From left to right her siblings
Emily, Zeke and Josie complete the family.
Wakeman’s impact on his own children is evident and as Weber said,
“We all feel the loss. Their church and their family will be with
them.” Weber was asked to speak on behalf of Wakeman’s oldest
daughter, Ashton, who admitted to him that shockingly she was at a
loss for words and could just come up with “Thank you!”
“Thank you, Micah. Thank you, Daddy. Thank you, Bubba,” Weber said
on her behalf. A few days shy of turning 20 years old, Ashton still
looked at her father with the same sparkle in her eye as he had the
day she was born.
At Wakeman’s request Communion was served during the service. Dyer
proceeded with a very moving Communion Meditation. He touched on
Wakeman’s maybe not so eloquent way of speaking in front of the
church crowd on Sundays for Communion. “But you listened because you
saw his heart every single time,” said Dyer, from the heart.
Before announcing this would be a church service communion at the
Wakeman’s request, Dyer brought up the exclamation marks that
Wakeman so loved to use, providing a light-hearted moment inserted
at just the right time.
As Communion was served, a video montage showing family photos and
pictures of Wakeman with children from all over the world hanging on
his neck, played on a big screen. The song, “I Want To Live Like
That!” played over the loud speaker.
Finally, Dyer said there would be one more song played by the band.
“Micah requested this song,” he said. “Holding On To You” was that
Just before the band started to play, Dyer made a plea to the crowd.
“Please find someone to tell about Jesus. Seek somebody out and
don’t wait. Make a commitment and learn by Micah’s example to serve
other people and love them with all your heart.”
Conclusion to the service inside the church featured a firefighter’s
tradition. A representative from the Decatur Fire Department took to
the stage to announce the ringing of the bell. “The bell reflects
honor and respect to those who have served. To our comrade, Micah
Bradley Wakeman “Bubba” - his last alarm. He is going home,” the
firefighter announced. The bell was struck a series of three
strikes, three times.
Paying respects to a fallen firefighter.
Firefighters take good care of their own. Wakeman was
laid to rest respectfully at Illini Cemetery in Warrensburg.
Outside the church, Engine #6 was waiting to carry
Wakeman to his final resting place, Illini Cemetery in Warrensburg.
The five-mile journey to the cemetery was yet another moving
experience. As the procession of vehicles left the church and headed
towards Route 121, two fire trucks sat by the highway with their
ladders extended to form an arch and the American flag waved against
the blue sky. People stood along the route saluting the fallen
firefighter. Traffic was halted as far as the eye could see.
The scene at Route 121 in honor of Micah Wakeman.
As the two-mile long procession of firetrucks, emergency vehicles,
police cars and various other vehicles turned onto Park Road, there
continued to be more people lining the road, paying their respects.
Driving past a cornfield on the left and a bean field on the right
only seemed appropriate for the man who had a passion for farming.
Every intersection in the country was blocked by a fire truck and or
other emergency vehicle to assure Wakeman the right of way. CN also
blocked the railroad crossing. A man and woman with two young
children stood at the end of their driveway, the father holding a
flag while the mother guided the children to observe and respect a
true fallen hero. Workers at a new facility being built in the
country also paused to salute the procession.
Reaching the beautiful cemetery nestled on a small hill, surrounded
by prairie grass, beautiful trees and God’s beauty we refer to as
nature, seemed so fitting for Wakeman. He was laid to rest
peacefully, as hundreds of family and friends looked on.
Two final touching moments transpired: the presentation of the flag
to Laura as her children looked on and the firefighters gathered to
play “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.
True to the words spoken about Micah earlier in the service by Mark
Weber, "Well done, good and faithful servant!”
A little Micah lives on in youngest child, Zeke. The Wakeman’s
youngest of four children is a little boy who is the spitting image
of his father. Zeke just turned nine years old on Fathers Day, was
supposed to spend it camping with his dad. Micah had a dirt bike
waiting for Zeke and planned to surprise the boy. Micah's younger
siblings, niece and nephews took Zeke camping and were joined for a
time during the trip by Micah's parents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
And, a picture of Zeke on the dirt bike has already surfaced.
To say Zeke idolized his dad was pretty accurate, from head to toe,
in fact. The youngster could be spotted hanging on his dad’s arm
just about anywhere, sporting a similar haircut to his dad and more
often than not, wearing rubber boots, just like his firefighting
Zeke walked beside his mom following the casket at the cemetery.
Micah leaves big shoes to fill...
[Outside service photos by Teena Lowery. Personal photos courtesy
of the Wakeman family.]
Editors note: We deeply appreciate how the Wakeman family has
shared their story so that others might see what Micah brought to
the world, and see Jesus in him.