ETX firefighter remembered during 'Brotherhood Ride' - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

ETX firefighter remembered during 'Brotherhood Ride'

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The Brotherhood Ride. Source: KLTV Staff. The Brotherhood Ride. Source: KLTV Staff.
VAN ZANDT COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - First responders from across the country are riding bicycles through East Texas in honor of a local hero.

In 2012, 20-year-old Jalen Smith, a Jackson Heights Firefighter, died in the line of duty. He and other volunteer firefighters were on their way to a wreck when they got into a wreck themselves.

Monday, thirty-four cyclists were peddling across Texas for the people who lost their lives trying to save others.

"As brothers, we know that feeling of losing a brother firefighter. So, we all made the decision that we'd dedicate the day and the ride to the firefighter who was lost," explained Jeff Morse, a North Napes, Florida Fire Lieutenant who founded The Brotherhood Ride in 2007.

On May 26th, they rode to honor Stanley Wilson of Dallas and Jalen Smith of Jackson Heights. Their purpose is to let the lost firefighter's loved ones know that their sacrifices have not been forgotten.

"I'm just excited. I'm just overwhelmed because they came from all over to honor my baby," says Smith's mother, Charlean Mosley.

Mosley drove alongside The Brotherhood Riders as they made their way to Van Zandt County in memory of her son.

"He's always making me proud to be his mom. I have such a big firefighter family now, and to see them all today --firefighters, policemen-- it just made me so happy. I looked up and said, 'Jalen, you're still making mama proud,'" explains Mosley.

The Jackson Heights Volunteer Fire Department has gone from a crew of 23 to 12 since Smith's death. He's remembered daily by his uniform, photos and awards on display, but recognition from The Brotherhood Ride was something special.

"It was mind blowing. I got the phone call two days ago that they they were coming. Then I got the phone call yesterday that they were going to honor Jalen," says Jackson Heights VFD Chief Terence Thompson.

"My baby... I never ever would have dreamed this. I miss him so much, but I'm just.. I'm just happy," says Mosely.

She says she's happy to see her son remembered by the brothers he didn't even know. Tuesday, The Brotherhood Ride will cycle to West in honor of the first responders who were killed in the 2013 fertilizer plant explosion. The ride ends on Friday in Houston.

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