Firefighter 'Will Be Badly Missed’
Mike Peters, Greeley
March 3, 2009
Union Colony Fire Rescue Authority
passed up an opportunity for a practical joke.
That’s one of the
many ways Union Colony Fire Lt. Brion Newkirk will be remembered
Wednesday morning when hundreds of firefighters, paramedics and other
first-responders are expected to gather and show their love for a
Newkirk was 47 when
he collapsed at his Windsor home Friday and was rushed to Medical Center
of the Rockies in Loveland. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Despite the practical
jokes — or maybe because of them — his death has been difficult for his
friends and co-workers.
“‘A shock’ is not
enough to describe this,” said longtime friend Jason Oster. “He was so
respected and was a mentor to so many people. He will be badly missed.”
Newkirk’s funeral is
scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Union Colony Civic Center in
Newkirk began his
fire career with the Western Hills Fire Department in 1981, and he was
chief when Greeley and Western Hills merged in 1997 to become the Union
Colony Fire Protection District.
spokesman Dale Lyman said Monday that Newkirk was well-respected and had
a lot of friends in the fire services. In addition to his fire-fighting
job, he also worked part-time for Weld County Paramedic Services, the
company that handles ambulance service in Weld County.
At Weld County
Paramedic Services, director Dave Bressler said Newkirk was the “kind of
guy who would take on the job of helping others for his entire life.”
“He was one of the
nicest, most honest people you’d ever meet,” Bressler added about his
The case was
especially difficult for the paramedics because they responded to
Newkirk’s house in Windsor on Friday evening, and Newkirk’s co-workers
rushed him to the hospital, but it was too late.
“It’s really hard
when you lose friends who are so young,” Bressler said. “It’s been a
hard year, with young people dying early.”
Ryan Weeks, 30, died suddenly in January. The cause of his death hasn’t
yet been determined.