Chris Brown is leaving behind big boots to fill. When he began his career more than a decade ago, the Bloomington Fire Department knew they had a true hero on their side.
"He was great. I wouldn't trade Chris for anything."
Captain Eric West is still in shock after learning his long time co-worker passed away in the line of duty.
"It just hit me in the stomach so hard. I was his captain. And, I look at that as, he's a son of mine."
"When it happens to one of your own, it's something you can never prepare for."
Friends and firefighters say 39-year old Brown had a passion for helping others. So much so, that he joined the Hudson Volunteer Fire Department three years ago.
"Excellent firefighter, very professional, excellent medic. Just a good all-around person."
Hudson Fire Chief Dan Hite was on the snowy highway with Brown helping stranded drivers when a semi lost control.
"It was eye-opening."
"Cars, they want to stop and they want to look or they want to slow down."
"The problem is they don't understand that semi-that's 40,000 pounds behind you going the same speed you are, and can't stop."
Now, with heavy hearts, as they try to move forward, the department says Brown's memory will continue to live on as they remember his strong work ethic, his love for family and a positive attitutde that, no matter the challenge, always shined through.
"You never saw Chris when he didn't have a smile on his face. He's a wonderful guy."
Tuesday was Brown's 12-year anniversary with the Bloomington department.