ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Veteran St. Louis City Firefighter Jeffrey Hudson was laid to rest Tuesday, with full honors and a lot of help from fellow firefighters from across the metro area.
Bommarito Automotive Skyfox followed Jeffrey Hudson's flag-draped casket from Granberry Mortuary in Jennings, Missouri. After 18 years with the department, Hudson left for North City's Kennerly Temple Church of God in Christ one last time.
"It's a hard time,” Chief Dennis Jenkerson shook his head, struggling to find words. “We're trying to find out what happened to him and why he died."
At about 2:30 on the morning of December 12, 2012, Hudson returned from a call with Engine House 36 in South City. He went to sleep in his bunk, and never woke up. Almost a week later, Jenkerson is still reeling.
"It's just hard to say. He was a young man, just 46 years old, in good shape, loved his job, loved his career, and liked serving the community."
Dozens of fire trucks and hundreds of first responders came to pay their respects in an elaborate funeral week that included a ceremonial final walk-through during Monday night’s visitation. Jenkerson said Hudson deserved the pomp, but that it can be hard on loved ones.
"The family's holding up as well as can be expected.”
Firefighters, paramedics and police from both sides of the river helped secure Hudson's procession to his final resting place, Bellfontaine Cemetery.
"When you see the cameras taking a shot of something that's going on, you see all the helpers in the background,” Jenkerson explained. “A lot of these guys didn't know Jeffrey Hudson."
Just about every piece of equipment St. Louis City Fire fleet lined the processional across the large Natural Bridge Avenue. But, firefighters got a lot of help in keeping city residents safe.
"We've got members from all over the county filling our firehouses, while our members go to the funeral,” Jenkerson explained.
The chief appreciated all the help, and he will pay it all forward another grieving chief. But, he just doesn't want to.
"Not to be selfish, but I hope I don't have to help plan one of these.”
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