PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Members of the masonic fraternity of Safety Harbor honored fallen Deputy Michael Hartwick after he was killed Thursday night.
The 51-year-old deputy was working to keep construction workers safe on I-275.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said Hartwick was instantly killed after being hit by a front-end loader. The driver did not stop.
“We have no words to express how we feel and what kind of loss he left,” said Rusty Valle, Tampa Bay Lodge No. 252.
When Hartwick was not on duty, he was an active member of the masonic fraternity of Safety Harbor, Tampa Bay Lodge No. 252.
The brotherhood visited the sheriff’s office to pay their respects.
“Our goal is to take good men and make them better men,” said Matthew Gordon, Tampa Bay Lodge No. 252. “Mike was already a great man, and I feel like with the fraternity, we made him a better man. It’s a very, very large loss to work for fraternity.”
“He always had your back no matter what, and he will be missed sorely by the brotherhood and by everybody that he touched,” said Allen Norwich, Tampa Bay Lodge No. 252.
Law enforcement and community members lined the street for Hartwick’s procession on Friday morning.
“A true embodiment of what Freemasonry is all about,” Valle said. “He just lit up a room when he came in he was dedicated to his fraternity dedicated to his job and dedicated to his Family.”
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Hartwick leaves behind multiple adult children.