Fallen firefighter's procession stretches for miles - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Fallen firefighter's procession stretches for miles

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SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

The Jackson Heights Volunteer Fire Department laid to rest a fallen brother.

Jalen Smith's life was honored through a traditional firefighter funeral service. The procession stretched four miles long.

"We had to call on the radio to see where the last truck was and when we got to, I want to say the Oil Palace, I think the last truck was pulling out of the church," said Jackson Heights VFD's Chief, Terence Thompson.

"It's really hard to put into words, but you know, firefighting is a brotherhood, so our brothers came to help us. We had phone calls coming in from local fire departments, state fire departments, national and even international. We had calls from as far away as New Zealand just to ask us if we needed anything, any support, just being supportive of their brother firefighters," said Johnnie Brown, President of the Smith County Volunteer Firefighter's Association.

With heavy hearts firefighters, family and friends came together to celebrate the life of this young firefighter.

At the service, Smith was awarded the Jackson Heights Volunteer Fire Department's Medal of Honor as well as the Firefighter of the Year Award.

Smith's family accepted the awards on his behalf.

"I was up till 3:00 this morning and I didn't know how I was going to get through this day, all the way up to this point," Thompson said.

However, with love and support, he made it through. Saturday's service truly showed this chief, his department, family and friends that they are not alone.

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