POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWNY) - A fire chief laid to rest with full honors. Fellow firefighters and family remember West Stockholm Chief Robert White.
It's the last time among his fellow firefighters. Robert White's ashes carried in by those who fought fires alongside him. He passed away just six days ago.
“We'll never be able to fill the shoes that are vacant right now," said St. Lawrence County Emergency Services Director Matthew Denner. "They don't make guys like Chief White anymore.”
Last Thursday, White rushed to a fire in Potsdam from his own home just doors away. He collapsed outside and died of natural causes. His death leaves a huge hole in Potsdam, West Stockholm and the county.
“We're going to continue to move forward as a group and represent Bob well...basically the path that he paved for us we're going to continue on,” said West Stockholm 2nd Assistant Chief Torey Russell.
Firefighters from across the county and region attended the memorial service at SUNY Potsdam. His wife, children and grandchildren talked about the caring man they knew.
“He was my rock. He was always there for me,” said Trudy White, wife of Robert White.
It brought home that being a volunteer firefighter is always a family affair.
“They're wonderful people and we're very lucky to have had them share Bob with us for as many years as they have,” said Russell.
White served 41 years altogether with West Stockholm Fire. He was chief for 33 of those years and he was operations manager for the county's fire training facility.
White was a music lover and he was able to say goodbye to his fellow firefighters one last time with a song that brought him solace on 9/11 - “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy - “Every move I make / Every single day, every time I pray / I’ll be missing you.”