Angelina Co. fire departments say goodbye to fallen chief - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Angelina Co. fire departments say goodbye to fallen chief

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Firefighters from across Angelina County gathered to say goodbye to one of their own.

"Its just a long handed down tradition of family, you're a banded brotherhood," said Richie Allen, Firefighter, Huntington Volunteer Fire Department.

Gil Harper, the President and former chief of the Ora Volunteer Fire department passed away early this week.

"He had a big impact on everybody's lives," said Chris Smith, Assistant Fire Chief Hudson.

Former colleagues remember Harper as an inspirational leader and say he treated those he worked with like his own children.

"He was a one of a kind person," said James Hope, Fire Chief, Ora Fire Department.

"The fire department was his baby," said Allen.

Friday 40 fire trucks flooded the streets of Huntington in honor of the fallen chief.

"To turn and look at all these truck its just overwhelming," said Allen.

Volunteer Fire Fighter Richie Allen met Harper in 1992, Allen says that his personality helped him gain the respect of everyone he met.

"He's a one of a hind gentleman, you'll never find another one like him, he always had a joke to ease the moment," said Allen.

Harper's death is believed to be the result of cancer, but firefighters are hoping Friday's procession will ease the pain of the family he leaves behind.

"I hope just them knowing how well he was thought of and how he touched every one of us, I hope it makes them feel better," said Smith.

The department retired Harper's call number but says his legacy will live on.

"Its going to be rough but we're going to honor his wishes," said Hope.

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