Dozens Honor Fallen Chillicothe Firefighter

Dozens Honor Fallen Chillicothe Firefighter

A church in Chillicothe hosts funeral services for Joe Darr, who died from duty-related injuries last week.
(CHILLICOTHE, Mo.) The command rings out: "All uniformed personnel - present arms!"

It's a salute to a fallen comrade.

Firefighters, police officers, and EMTs from all over Missouri salute fallen Chillicothe firefighter Joe Darr, 62.

"[We come] mainly because it helps these guys heal and it shows that we have support for them," said Kern Swafford from the O'Fallon Fire Department Honor Guard.

The O'Fallon fire fighters were among those that travelled the longest to pay their respects to Darr.

Darr was the assistant fire chief in Chillicothe.

He served the community as a fire fighter for 34 years before a duty related injury proved fatal last week.  He was the assistant fire chief for four years.

"Joe was just a hard worker, with a great attitude, and always had a smile on his face.  He was a Christian, godly man, connected with Olive Branch Church.  He'll be dearly missed," said Pastor Alan Brock, who led the funeral at Calgary Baptist Church, which hosts the ceremony.

Brock is impressed by the outpouring of support.

"Whenever there's a crisis like this, the community usually responds in a compassionate and supportive way.  So I'm not surprised by it.  I'm proud to see that our fire fighters are elevated to the place that they are," Brock said.

Some of the fire fighters came from miles away just to salute one of their own.

"I would imagine that if something were to happen to one of us, these guys would come and do the same for me," Swafford said.

Brock is quick to point out how all the uniformed personnel seem to be connected, like a brotherhood.

"It's more of family than it is a job," the clergyman said.  "That's the great connection that's there.  It says to everyone 'You're not just a fire fighter to us; we're family for you.  And that's a big deal."

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