Firefighters Remember Fallen Brothers - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Firefighters Remember Fallen Brothers

On one of the hardest days of their lives, Noonday Volunteer Firefighters come together, remembering their fallen brothers and leaning on each other for help.  Captain Kevin Williams, 42, and Austin Cheek, 19, were killed Friday morning, while fighting a house fire near Flint.  It's a tragedy that has shaken the entire Noonday community and a day that will forever change their now 15 member department.  

It was a procession of honor, dignity, and remembrance as Noonday Fire Captain Kevin Williams' body was escorted Saturday from the Smith County line to a funeral home in Tyler.

"It was very quiet," said Noonday Fire Chief Gary Aarant.  "We were transporting our Captain back to Smith County, bring him to the funeral home.  It was very emotional, and we're missing him."

"Just felt like it was our duty, not enough, but it's all we can do right now," says Noonday Fire Lieutenant Brad Lewis.  Saturday was the first full day after the unimaginable.

"Coming here this morning, I walked up, and I lost it," said Lieutenant Kyle Patterson.  "It's tough.  It really is."  Fellow firefighters gathered at the Noonday Fire Department, remembering their fallen brothers, making funeral arrangements and finally realizing just how difficult it's going to be without them.

"We just keep looking for them to walk up," said Aarant.  "To us this is still hard.  It's almost like it didn't happen, and we're trying to make it like it's a bad dream and reality is starting to set in more and more every hour it goes on.  We just keep praying for them to come walking up and it's not going to happen."  They say the only way to cope is to take it day by day, especially Sunday when they start accepting calls again.

"I'll tell you without these two, it's not going to be the same at all," said Patterson.  "Best thing we can do is come out here when the alarm goes off, get in our truck and get out there."  That's another chance to do what they love, only now, with the memory of their fallen heroes, their brothers, Kevin and Austin.

A combined firefighter memorial service has been planned for both Williams and Cheek Monday morning at 10:30 a.m.  It will be held at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler.

The visitation for Captain Kevin Williams is scheduled for Sunday night at Stewart Funeral Home from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  His funeral will be Monday at 2:00 p.m. at Bethel Bible Church in Tyler.

Firefighter Austin Cheek's visitation is scheduled for Monday night at Burks-Walker-Tippit Funeral Home in Tyler from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Cheek's funeral service is Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler.  His burial will be Cathedral of the Pines.

Tracy Watler. Reporting,

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