A local firefighter is being mourned after losing his life in the line of duty. Assistant chief Tom Stevens of the Bright, Indiana Fire Department suffered a fatal heart attack early Monday shortly after returning from an emergency call.
He leaves behind his wife Debbie, who is an EMT and two sons, one of whom is a fire fighter in the same department. Stevens was 59 years old.
The Bright Fire Department promoted Tom Stevens to assistant chief where he held that position for two about two years. Steven's close friend David Nash says since that promotion, he made it a goal to put the city before himself.
"He did everything from the festival, to trying to get us grant money, to trying to develop a relationship with the community and that was his goal and he did a heck of a job over the last two years," said Bright firefighter David Nash.
"He's taken over all the grant writing. We've landed a couple grants that have helped to replace some big time equipment needs that we just don't have the budget for," said Fire Chief Kevin Gick.
Gick says Stevens was also in charge of all the fire prevention programs with the local schools.
"The kids all say thank you and everyone knows who Tom is," said Gick.
Stevens wasn't always a firefighter. Years ago, one of his friends died. That friend happened to be with the fire department, and his inspiration to join came after the ceremony.
"They treated his family very well, beautiful ceremony and he just fell in love with how well they treated his friend and once that was over he came up here and joined," said Nash.
"He's been all in since day one so he's a very passionate man," said Gick.
He was a leader, a jokester, but more importantly a hero to the city of Bright, and those he left behind say they plan to carry on his legacy.
"He's going to see how his children perform without him, and we're going to do a great job and we're going to honor him and that's going to be our tribute to him," said Nash.
A visitation for Stevens is Thursday from 1:00 to 5:00 at the Bright Christian Church. A funeral will immediately follow.
Written by Brett Hoffland