Forest Volunteer Fire Department made arrangements for an Honor Guard to show their deep respect for their fallen brother, fireman Steven Boo, who died at the age of 23 on August 5th.

Forest Volunteer Fire Department made arrangements for an Honor Guard to show their deep respect for their fallen brother, fireman Steven Boo, who died at the age of 23 on August 5th. It was only four years ago, in 2013, that this same fire department had an Honor Guard for their junior firefighter, Jacob “Jake” Daniels, who died at age of 17. Like Boo, Daniels was in a car crash.

The funeral was held Thursday evening at their station with a procession to Chester, NY on Friday for interment.

This is of course so hard to contemplate, so difficult to make any sense. We all know it could happen anytime, anywhere, to any one of us. It’s part of this cycle of life. We who remain are left to not only mourn the loss we feel, but to truly celebrate the life of who we lost, to give abundant thanks and to pledge not only that they are not forgotten, their legacy will live on in the rest of us.

No fire company should have to be so experienced at honor guard ceremonies. Several other fire departments were expected to stand shoulder to shoulder with their comrades at “Company 81,” the number given to this Pike County fire company just outside Hawley. Their tearful, gut-wrenching lesson in how to perform a solemn honor guard in these circumstances will be shared.

Co. 81 knows and will know for sure, they are not alone. Nor is Steven Boo’s family, his girlfriend and all who loved him. They are under a blanket of love and care, of sympathy and empathy. Strength beyond our human capacity is waiting to fill the gap.

The kind words said may quickly be forgotten, in our grief; time races and our emotions seem to wipe out the details of the day. Yet the prayers and words from the heart are not wasted. They settle in the subconscious; the quiet presence of comforters leaves an indelible mark and though we may not know it then, we our better able to stand and press forward as a result.

Together, Steven Boo’s remarkable legacy will not be lost. The many young people who aspired to serve in emergency services, who were mentored, coached and encouraged by Steven, have the best chance to make sure Steven Boo- all of 6’4” and 250 pounds and a heart as wide as his winning smile- will stand as a hero figure in their hearts. They have responsibility to take what they have been given, and serve, not only in his place, but as individuals, binding together as a team to faithfully do their duty to protect life and property. Moreover, one day they can pass the mantle and teach yet another generation that rises in their wake.

We stand today with Co. 81, with Steven’s family and friends. Those who pray, must do so. Those who love must never give up. Those who look past self must keep it up. We give thanks for the lessons this gentle giant of a young man, Steven Boo, has entrusted to us.