"Job well done, Daryl. We'll take it from here."
Thousands of firefighters are in Cincinnati today paying tribute to one of their own who lost his life last week while battling an apartment fire in Madisonville.
Funeral services were held Wednesday morning for 54-year-old Daryl Gordon at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral.
Several people offered remembrances including his nephew, John Gordon, Sr. who called his uncle "a true fireman."
"He really did love that job," says Gordon, Sr. "From the age of nine years old he was chasing the fire trucks on his bike. He knew what he wanted to be then. But, also, he was a great husband and he was a great father, to more than just his family. He always was there for everybody and never asked for anything in return."
Firefighters Union Local 48 president Matt Alter eulogized Gordon, saying "Job well done, Daryl. We'll take it from here."
He also quoted Gordon himself, "As Daryl would say, 'Let's go kid, we've got a job to do.'"
Chief Richard Braun says Gordon was known to many as a big teddy bear, and was a leader in the station.
"Teaching, teasing, helping - always trying to help us strive to be better. We will all remember his laugh, his smile, and his mischievous twinkle in his eye when he was up to something. We are all better because we knew him," says Braun.
A long procession of fire trucks accompanied Gordon's casket to Oak Hill Cemetery in Springdale for burial. His casket was carried to his plot under a bright blue sky as bagpipes played from a nearby hillside.
Gordon's final radio call echoed over the crowd followed by a flyover by the UC Health Air Care and Hamilton County Sheriff's Department helicopters.
Two sharp tones sounded, followed by the final call: "This is the final alarm for Cincinnati Fire Department Fire Apparatus Operator Daryl Gordon. 6020 Dahlgren Street. Kings Tower Apartments. Fire box number 8371."
Chief Richard Braun presented Gordon's wife and daughters with the flag from his casket. Bagpipes playing Amazing Grace were followed by the call "Fire in the hole! Fire in the hole! Fire in the hole!" and the detonation of a small explosive to honor his time with the bomb squad.
The procession included about 250 vehicles and 3,500 firefighters and extended family. Fire engines from dozens of regional fire departments also particpated.
"From the age of nine years old he was chasing the fire trucks on his bike." - John Gordon, Sr.
From the funeral service
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley spoke at the funeral. Here's an excerpt from his remarks:
I thank Daryl Gordon for his service to our city. We are eternally grateful. But we also come together to hear what Daryl Gordon is telling us. He is telling us to live our faith and to believe that putting the wellbeing of others ahead of our own will be our greatest joy and our ultimate salvation.
It is hard to believe this truth in our current grief, but it is all around us, in the laughter of our children, the love of our spouses, the good cheer of our friends, and sometimes in our songs:
So let us pray that we might hear Daryl’s intercession:
Mayday, Mayday, a firefighter is down. May his strength give us strength.
Mayday, Mayday, our friend Daryl is gone. May his faith give us faith.
Mayday, Mayday, how do we move on?
May his hope give us hope. May his love give us love. Daryl, We miss you dearly, but love and duty called you someplace higher.
Somewhere up the stairs into the fire.