When the tragic passing of a fellow firefighter came to soon, many were unable to stop the stream of tears from flowing down their faces during the funeral of their fallen friend.
Cory J. Galloway died Sunday, Jan. 25 while training for the Kilgore Fire Department at a Kilgore College dorm building, Stark Hall. Galloway was a former TJC student, graduating with his basic EMS certification. Kyle Perkins, 45, another Kilgore firefighter, was also killed in the accident. Two other firefighters were injured from the same incident.
“He’d probably set the tone for us today by saying ‘rock on,'” said Larry Hunt, ordained minister, describing Galloway.
Galloway’s funeral was held Friday, January 30 at the First Baptist Church in Van.
Galloway’s sister, Caitlin Galloway, said, “Cory would not want us to be sad; he would want us to be happy. He wants us to live life.”
Jade Hopson, Galloway’s older sister described him as being a “goober” and always taking care of her and her children.
Many of the speakers at the funeral remarked that being a member of the Kilgore Fire Department was Galloway’s proudest accomplishment.
In September, after Hurricane Ike had left Galveston crippled, Galloway went to aid the Galveston Fire Department in the clean up efforts.
“No one had to tell him what to do, he just did it,” said Mike Wisko, Training Chief for Galveston Fire Department. After hearing about Galloway from another firefighter who worked with him while in Galveston Wisko also said, “he was one of the good ones.”
Many of the reflections described this 23-year-old as constantly making funny faces and “always being on,” as his sister, Caitlin, put it.
“He would be so happy to see everyone here,” Galloway’s fiancé, Sarah Hunt, remarked. “He was a great person, always making people feel better.”
Kilgore’s mayor, Joe T. Parker and Kilgore’s Fire Department Chief, Dennis Gage, presented the Galloway family with the U.S. flag that was flown over the Capitol on the day of the accident and the Texas Flag that was flown over the state capitol.
The family also received the International Association of Fire Fighters Medal of Honor, presented to them by IAFF’s President Harold Schaitberger, District Vice President Sandy McGhee and Kilgore Fire Fighters Local 2996 President Ramond Coven.
The playing of the bag pipe and hundreds of uniformed fire fighters saluting the young hero was an appropriate send-off to a young man that was taken too soon.
The funeral lasted just about two hours with up to 1000 people in attendance. Firefighters from all over the state and beyond came to pay their respects. Along with the many firefighters, EMTs, family and friends all came to remember the life of this young man. With all of the pews and standing room occupied in the sanctuary, additional funeral goers were directed to an overflow room to watch the service on a screen.