Honoring a fallen hero

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 6, 2005

More than 100 emergency vehicles rolled down Highway 22 through Calera last Thursday during a funeral procession for Calera firefighter Christopher James Roy.

Fire trucks from as far away as Orange Beach helped commemorate the firefighter who died while responding to a fire call on Nov. 28.

A Calera firetruck carried Roy’s flag-draped coffin while community leaders stood alongside city employees and residents as the procession continued.

The number of departments who showed up to remember Roy is a testament to the close bond shared between firefighters, said Lt. Hugh Morrison of the Calera Fire Department.

&8220;It’s a brotherhood. It doesn’t matter which city you go to; you can always go by the fire department and find a friendly face,&8221; he said.

Thursday’s ceremony was an opportunity for the community to support each other, said Calera Police Chief Tommy Palmer.

&8220;Whenever you have an official fireman or officer’s ceremony like that, it shows the brotherhood, and it sort of brings it into perspective and shows you don’t have to go through the loss by yourself,&8221; Palmer said.

Roy started out as a volunteer firefighter and joined the department full-time in 2001.

A lifelong Calera resident and grandson of Mayor George Roy, the 25-year-old’s death in the line of duty shook the 25-member Calera Fire Department.

&8220;For us, it was really sad,&8221; Morrison said. &8220;Your brother’s gone. It’s like a bad dream.&8221;

Roy died on Monday, Nov. 28 while driving a Calera fire truck to the scene of a call at 9:38 a.m.

The fire truck collided with an 18-wheeler at the intersection of Shelby County 87 and the Interstate 65 South exit ramp.

Roy was taken to UAB Hospital by LifeSaver helicopter and died there at 12:37 p.m. No one else was injured in the crash.

Morrison said the department has never dealt with a fatality during service before.

&8220;This is the first time and hopefully the last,&8221; he said.

On Thursday, Roy’s co-workers, friends and family remembered a young man with a sense of humor and love for his city.

Roy’s vibrant personality was tough to say goodbye to, Morrison said.

&8220;Chris always had a great positive attitude. He could light up the room,&8221; Morrison said. &8220;He could make something good out of anything.&8221;