Honor Guards, West Community Prepare For First Of Firefighter Funerals

By: Matt Howerton Email
By: Matt Howerton Email

WEST (April 23, 2013)--The West community and honor guards are preparing for the first of the funerals for the first responders killed in the fertilizer plant explosion.

Visitation was held Tuesday night for 52-year-old Dallas Fire Capt. Kenny Harris of West.

His funeral will be held on Wednesday at 2 p.m. at St. Mary's Church of the Assumption.

Both the visitation and funeral are private services and will not be open to the public.

Harris is the first emergency responder killed by the West explosion to be laid to rest.

A firefighter honor guard has stood watch over his body around the clock at the Aderhold Funeral Home in West.

A total of ten first responders were killed by the explosion, the most in a single incident since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Honor guards from New York, Maine, Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, and from cities across Texas volunteered to keep watch over the fallen.

Line of Duty Death Task Force Member Craig Owen says the West explosion has pierced the hearts of first responders across America.

"You see it happen on the news and you feel for those people," Owen said. "But when it's right here at home, it really hits you."

Owen is the liaison for 29-year-old Joey Pustejovsky's family, one of the fallen West Volunteer Firemen and the city secretary.

Honor Guards have been with his body around the clock at the Aderhold Funeral home for days.

"I would want the same treatment done for me," Owen said. "I don't know of any other organization that has the same love for one another as we do."

Some call it a tradition, but McKinney Honor Guard Quincy Blount says it's a privilege to protect real heroes.

"We make sure that they're taken care of," Blount said. "Even if we don't know them, they are still our brothers and our sisters."

Pustejovsky's funeral will be held at St. Mary's Church of the Assumption at 11 a.m.

His services will be private as well.

"We're here to show that we do care and that we are there for them," Blount said. "We will be here until it's done."

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