Firefighters Say Good-bye to One of Their Own

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ELYSBURG -- Friends and family of a firefighter who was killed in a crash on Sunday near Elysburg said their final good-byes Friday.

A funeral was held today for Brian Stanley of Elysburg.

Brian Stanley's father saluted more than one dozen emergency vehicles, as he watched his son's funeral procession pass by in Elysburg.  Brian Stanley, 27, was laid to rest near his home in that Northumberland County community.

State police say Stanley died when his truck was hit head on after another vehicle drifted into the oncoming lane Sunday on Route 54 near Elysburg.

Officials with the Ralpho Fire Company say it is a small, tight-knit group with only about 16 members. What made the situation even more heartbreaking for them was they were the first ones to respond to the crash.

"The support has been overwhelming all week. People came down and cleaned our trucks for us. They supported us," Assistant Chief Al Knerr said.

Ralpho Fire Company led the funeral procession of about 15 emergency vehicles. More than 50 firefighters came to pay respect to their fallen brother.

"Fire service is a tight brotherhood. It really doesn't surprise me at all. We look out for one another no matter how we pass. We're always there to support each other," Chief Clint Herr said.

Firefighters remember Brian Stanley as a good father to his two small children, and dedicated to the fire company.

"Brian was an outstanding firefighter. He was very dedicated to the company. He was at every training and helped with a lot of fundraising events. He spent most of his time at the fire company. It's going to be a big loss for us. A really big loss," Herr said.

"He is. He was. He still is in our minds. He will always be with us," Knerr said.

The Ralpho Fire Company plans to set up a trust fund for Brian Stanley's two small children. Stanley would have turned 28 years old this past Wednesday.