Thousands of first responders from across the country are remembering one of the fallen firefighters who were fatally shot on Christmas Eve while responding to a fire in Webster.
The funeral service for Lt. Michael Chiapperini was held on Sunday at Schroeder High School. Family, friends, fellow firefighters and police, among others, filed into the school to pay their respects during a visibly emotional ceremony.
During the service, a few of Chiapperini's colleagues spoke about what he meant to them, including West Webster District Fire Chief James Deisenroth.
"You give me courage and confidence to handle anything. You give us all strength to know we can take any challenge as a group. I know you are watching over us with the help with of Tomasz. Two of the best guardian angels our families could ask for," Deisenroth says.
West Webster Firefighter and Police Department chief Dennis Kholmeier choked up several times while saying what made him proud to call Chiapperini his friend.
"He was the kind of friend that made work fun, didn't matter what it was. He made me look forward to going to work if I was going to be working with him. He always made time for gossip, laughing or ... stops for chocolate milkshakes, which he loved," says Kholmeier.
Chiapperini was buried, with honors, in West Webster Cemetery.
Chiapperini is a 20-year veteran of the Webster Police Department and serviced 25 years a volunteer firefighter.
Buffalo Bills players also honored the two fallen firemen by sporting a West Webster Firefighter Department decal on their helmets during Sunday's football game.
A funeral mass is being held for Tomasz Kaczowka Monday morning at St. Stanislaus church.