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Paying Tribute to a Phoenix Firefighter

 
Paying Tribute to a Phoenix Firefighter

(Fox 10) - PEORIA, Ariz. - Bagpipes paid tribute to a Phoenix firefighter killed last week in a rappelling accident in Echo Canyon.

People from all over Arizona came to pay their respects to the firefighter.

It was an emotional morning in Peoria for friends and family of Phoenix Firefighter Gary Johnstone, as they came together to say their final goodbye.

"All I can say is, my friend, I miss him," said Gary's friend "Dobbie".

People gathered at Christ's Church of the Valley in Peoria this morning to remember firefighter Gary Johnstone.

"We worked extensively together last year doing funerals for the 19 firefighters that were killed in Prescott. He was an incredible influence and an incredibly honorable man," said Brian Brendel.

Johnstone died last week during a rappelling accident on Camelback Mountain, a teen he was also climbing with also died, another was injured when a rope snapped.

"Gary did not sit around, his personality was one that he didn't waste time sitting around, he was always going," said Deputy Chief Frank Salomon.

He was a firefighter for 25 years and was an experienced technical rescue team member.

"I love him, he's a great guy, and the fire service has lost someone incredibly important," said Brian Brendel.

But he was remembered as more than just a firefighter.

"He loved his wife, he loved his kids, he spent a lot of time with his family," said Salomon.

The husband and father of three had been part of ceremonies like his own numerous times as a bagpiper in the Phoenix Fire Department's honor guard.

"Gary was always there to answer the call, when Houston suffered a tragedy and 3 firefighters fell he was there, whenever Phoenix or any agency had a fallen officer he was there, fundraiser's he was there," said Dobbie.

A fitting tribute to a fallen hero.

There were about 150 members in the band today paying tribute to who they call a dedicated and great man.


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