NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - There's a sad connection between Nacogdoches and West, Texas. A fallen firefighter is the brother and only sibling of a longtime Nacogdoches hair stylist. As the news spreads, friends and complete strangers do what they can to offer their condolences.
Jerry Chapman was an Abbott volunteer firefighter. He was one of the first on the scene of the West fertilizer fire. He died in the line of duty, just two weeks after his 26th birthday and less than one week before graduating from EMT school.
His sister Shay Pohlmann's workstation at Head to Toe Salon in Nacogdoches is quiet today. Co-workers recall the day shay learned her only sibling was tragically killed.
"She was extremely upset and started moving appointments and trying to pull herself together," Chris Knight, a co-worker said.
Stylists stepped up to take Pohlmann's appointments. It was a gesture to express their appreciation for Chapman's efforts.
"I'm just really appreciative of them for the job they do and really respect her brother for doing it," Knight said.
Other volunteer firefighters here in East Texas expressed their respect as well.
"It's pretty much one big family in the fire service rather you are career or volunteer or whatever, they're going to step up and help their brothers and sisters out," James Russell, the assistant fire chief of the Central Heights VFD, said.
The Chapman family may not realize it now, but communities near and far to them care. When East Texas News called Shay Pohlmann about her loss she responded with the text, "Please allow our family time to grieve."