Firefighters Pay Tribute to Kelly Crush

    Wichita Falls firefighters are joining folks all over the nation in mourning the death of 51-year-old Kelly Crush ...
    He died yesterday evening after a nearly four year battle with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.
   Crush had served on the fire department since the late 80's, and was forced to retire due to the debilitating disease.
    But he remained very much a part of the brotherhood.
    Crush was committed to finding a cure ... traveling the country as a spokesman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
    Firefighters listened to the Sunday evening radio call with heavy hearts.
"At 18:05 hours on this date, our brother firefighter Kelly Crush passed from this life, ending his battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease ... There's a void this evening in our ranks where Kelly Crush stood."
   Fire dispatcher Sonny Ashley -- who is a retired fireman -- wrote a poem called "Firehouse Heaven."
   "It's a poem for the rest of us, because Kelly's already gone on -- he's already there."
   Ten minutes after Kelly Crush died ... Ashley read the poem to the firehouses over dispatch.
   "There's a special place in Heaven that's held for a special kind of man -- he's committed to serving & protecting his fellow man."
    Crush's brotherhood of firefighters" rallied around him from day one.  Crush always said that meant the world to him.
   Kelly Crush
Last Month
   "It's hard to put into words.  I get kind of choked up when I think about it."
   Pete Adams
Retired Firefighter
   "You become family, you know. And when somebody's hurting, everybody feels it."
   Crush used to say that support helped him stay positive & cheerful ... even as the crippling disease stole so much from him.
   "He dealt with it like a trooper."
    Lt. Jeromy Lucas
   "Honestly, even when they moved him into hospice, he was joking with the nurses as he went in. I mean, it was just his personality & the way he chose to battle through his ALS."
   Lt. Tim Moffett
   "He's a fighter. Just like -- never give up.  We never gave up on him."
"He's still riding out with us. So, his spirit will be around here - & his legacy of - of courage & cheerfulness will reside in these firehouses for a lot of years to come."
   "He will always be a member of the Wichita Falls Fire Department."
  "We'll never forget him."
   And "Firehouse Heaven"'s final verse sums up the hope Kelly Crush's brothers are clinging to:
   "There's a special place in heaven where all kinds of people can share - when it's our turn to go -- Kelly will be waiting for us there."
    The funeral service for Kelly Crush will take place at the Kay Yeager Coliseum, at one o'clock on Saturday.
    Visitation will be on Friday, from six to eight, at Owens and Brumley in Wichita Falls.

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