‘A beacon of hope’: Central Texas community bids farewell to West firefighter Edward Hykel, Jr.
WEST, Texas (KWTX) - Edward Hykel, Jr., 60, a volunteer firefighter killed last week while on a call on I-35 North in West, was described as a “beacon of hope in times of crisis” by First Baptist Church of West Pastor Dr. John Crowder during a burial mass held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church of the Assumption on Monday.
Hykel was laid to rest at St. Mary’s cemetery.
“His courage and expertise helped to save lives, and protect many more,” said Crowder.
Hykel was born on November 7, 1962 in Waco to Barbara and Edward Hykel Sr. He was a 1981 graduate of West High School. On September 13, 1986, he married Janet Gerik.
He worked in the public works department for the City of West since March of 2007. Prior to that, he worked for Huck Manufacturing for 19 years. Hykel had been a member of the West Volunteer Fire Department since 2011.
He was one of the many first responders that worked during the West explosion almost 10 years ago that killed 15 people. Hykel survived that explosion, but 12 first responders did not.
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“Eddie was one of the first responders that went to the West fertilizer plant, and being so, he was severely injured and had multiple injuries. This didn’t sway Eddie from being in the fire department,” said City of West Mayor Tommy Muska.
“I’m sure that was heavy on his heart knowing the 10-year anniversary is coming up. That’s going to be 10 years since we lost our colleagues, our friends, our family. I know that was weighing heavy on his heart, but he’s with them now. He was one of a kind. He was the type where you never had to question what he was thinking, but he was never cruel about what he was thinking either,” said former police chief, Darryl Barton.
Hykel on Monday was remembered for his Christian faith, selflessness, and diligent nature.
“He was a hard worker, dedicated. He was a family man as well. He took care of everything we were doing, and did it without a problem,” said Jody Krizan, with the Sachse Fire Department, “He’s sacrificed his life for the duty of care for the citizens here in the city of West. It’s a tribute for me to be here with him, to honor him.”
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