It was my express privilege and honor this week to travel to Clayton, NM to stand in for their fire department. The Tucumcari Fire Department Deputy Chief and I represented our department. There were a couple of firefighters from Texline, TX and one from Sedan, NM that came and brought a couple of pieces of apparatus. An ambulance and crew came out of Folsom, NM to cover on the EMS side. The reason that we all traveled to Clayton was so that the Clayton Fire & Recue department could bury one of their own. It was on February 10, 2009 that FF/EMT David Tufte lost his life. I personally did not know him and had only met a couple of the firefighters from Clayton a couple of months ago. But when asked if I would like to go to help out I didn’t hesitate. We left Tucumcari at 7 after having put out flags for President’s day. We got to Clayton around 9 and as we were walking into the fire station we could hear the bagpipers warming up. Walking into the fire station it seemed just like any other station until we saw the mourning bands and the red eyes. We were introduced to all of the Clayton firefighters and their families. The chief was running around trying to finalize all the little details and it was our job to take a little bit of that off of him. We were introduced to the crew that we would be working with. Quick hellos and introductions and then we were left to go over the equipment. The chief gave us one last good luck and we were left to our duty of caring for their town. During the funeral some guys played pool, some just sat around and watched TV, I caught up on homework for my EMT-Basic class. We didn’t have any calls and then the tones started going off. It was the last call for firefighter David Tufte. They seemed to cut right through us all. We opened the bay doors and awaited the procession. Our most important task of the day was upon us. As the procession started past we set off the air siren on top of the fire station. Thirteen blasts that only took a couple of minutes seemed to last for hours as the line of apparatus and ambulances went past sounding their mournful sirens that could only be heard between the blasts of the air siren. As we stood there in front of the fire station not a single person had a dry eye. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life thus far. I hope to not have to go to another firefighter’s funeral as long as I live but I know that it is inevitable. But if asked again to move up for a fire department I wont waver because it has been one of the greatest honors in my life. Thank you FF/EMT David Tufte for your life of service.

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Comment by BillySFCVFD on February 19, 2009 at 2:15pm
That was a moving story Gopher. God bless you for your public service. TCSS

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