The bright orange-and-white machine that killed sanitation worker Johnny L. Harrison ultimately served as a tribute to him.
Yesterday, as hundreds of uniformed D.C. Department of Public Works employees packed a Capitol Hill church for his funeral, the trash truck he drove the last morning of his life sat outside, its grill adorned with a large photograph bearing his likeness.
"Johnny always loved his uniform and his job," said his boss, Tony Duckett. "DPW's like a family. We will truly miss him."
Harrison, 38, who was working an overtime shift July 16, was killed in the 3400 block of Macomb Street NW when his parked truck began to roll. He chased the truck, fell and was crushed, police said.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), one of hundreds at the service at Imani Temple, was welcomed by a standing ovation and heralded Harrison's service to the city.
Williams, who had been in Boston at the Democratic National Convention, came back to the city to attend Harrison's service before returning to Boston.
"There's no other way to describe him -- a great city employee, Williams said. "That's what this special person was all about, serving, giving his all, giving his best. This was a man who went that extra mile and provided excellent service."
Trash removal in the city was canceled yesterday to give department employees an opportunity to attend Harrison's service. The city will follow a holiday trash collection schedule this week, and a spokeswoman said no residents had complained about the change in service.
D.C. Council members Sandy Allen (D-Ward 8) and Carol Schwartz (R-At Large) also attended. Schwartz said the decision to cancel trash removal was fitting, calling Harrison a "dedicated civil servant."
"I value our workers, and I value the sacrifices they make for all of us," said Schwartz, who chairs the council's Committee on Public Works and the Environment. "I don't quarrel with that decision."
Before the two-hour service began, a steady stream of mourners filed past the open coffin to pay their respects.
Harrison, a graduate of Anacostia High School, once owned a barbershop on Good Hope Road SE. He sold the shop but continued to cut hair part time. Co-workers described him as a hard worker who wanted to see both his children graduate from college. One co-worker, Terry Williams, said, "He loved his job, and he was doing it for his kids."
Harrison's children, LaQuansia Bennett, 20, a college senior, and JaQuan Harrison, 15, stood with their arms over each other's shoulders as they tearfully thanked the mourners for coming.
Harrison's older brother, Haywood Southerland of the District, said he was pleased that so many people came to honor his brother, described as a hero by some of those who eulogized him. Many said they imagined that Harrison was thinking of the safety of others when he tried to chase down the runaway truck.
"I didn't know so many people knew my brother. I guess if you cut hair and work for the city. . . Johnny was the best," he said, to a round of applause.
William O. Howland Jr., the department's director, called Harrison committed and passionate and told his family he would be missed.
Richard Langley, 37, a trash truck driver, said he didn't know Harrison very well but wanted to pay his respects. "I'm giving respect to one of the fallen guys," Langley said. "This is something that makes you wake up and lets you know the equipment we're working with can be dangerous."
Harrison's empty truck, polished clean, led the procession of cars to his resting place.