TRUSTED NEWS LEADER FOR COTTONWOOD, CAMP VERDE & THE VERDE VALLEY
Tue, Dec. 07

Column: Firefighter brotherhood an unbreakable bond

More than 400 firefighters from different districts came to pay their respects to Verde Valley Fire District firefighter-paramedic Tyrone Bell when he was laid to rest Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. Bell lost his life “in the line of duty” Oct. 18 after he contracted COVID-19 after being exposed to the virus when coming into contact with patients on a call. He was 35. (Vyto Starinskas/Independent)

More than 400 firefighters from different districts came to pay their respects to Verde Valley Fire District firefighter-paramedic Tyrone Bell when he was laid to rest Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. Bell lost his life “in the line of duty” Oct. 18 after he contracted COVID-19 after being exposed to the virus when coming into contact with patients on a call. He was 35. (Vyto Starinskas/Independent)

Tyrone Bell was laid to rest Monday with his family, friends and hundreds of firefighters at his side.

I did not know firefighter Bell, but I wish I had. Although COVID-19 claimed his life, we say goodbye to him knowing he died in the line of duty after helping those in need. He will forever be remembered as someone who put himself before others.

Firefighters are a brotherhood. Most of our local firefighters in the Verde Valley have dedicated their lives to the craft, and when they lose one of their own, it hurts more than most of us regular citizens can imagine.

I’ve been lucky enough to know many first responders during my 15-plus year career as a journalist. Most will tell you, “I’m just doing my job,” even though it means much more to those they save or keep from harm’s way.

A family man, Firefighter Bell has been called a “consummate professional,” “light-hearted,” “a kind friend,” and “humble” among his peers. Verde Valley Fire District Chief Danny Johnson said Bell had an ability to stay focused on “treating the injured and not succumb to the pressure of the moment.”

During his final days as a Verde Valley Fire District paramedic and firefighter, he did exactly that, and then some.

To his wife, Ashli, and 5-year-old son Tyson, may you have comfort knowing that you’re beloved husband and father was loved and respected by many, and that the firefighter brotherhood will be with you moving forward for as much as your family needs.

With that, I leave you with “The Firefighter’s Creed,” by Alvin W. "Smokey" Linn (1923-2004), originally published in a book called "A Celebration of Poets" in 1958:

When I’m called to duty God

wherever flames my rage

give me strength to save a life

whatever be its age

Help me to embrace a little child

before it is too late

or save an older person from

the horror of that fate

Enable me to be alert

to hear the weakest shout

and quickly and efficiently

to put the fire out

I want to fill my calling and

to give the best in me

to guard my neighbor and

protect his property

And if according to your will

I have to lose my life

bless with your protecting hand

my children and my wife.

Follow Brian M. Bergner Jr. on Twitter and Facebook at @52MediaWorks. Email him at bbergner@verdenews.com, or call 928-634-2241, ext. 6033.

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