LAKE MILLS (WKOW) — People in Lake Mills have said their final goodbyes to Capt. Chris Truman.
Family, friends, firefighters and first responders gathered for funeral services Sunday. Hundreds lined the streets as his casket was taken to the funeral home.
The Captain was hit and killed by a suspected drunk driver on New Years Eve when he pulled over on the beltline to help another driver who had crashed.
Fellow Lake Mills firefighter and Chaplain Dave Sobek led the funeral service. He said he wanted stories from those who loved Truman to carry the memorial through.
“That just tells you someone was alive, that someone did something with their life and Chris certainly did,” he said.
Other Lake Mills firefighters including Mark Bentheimer talked about Chris’s compassion and commitment to service. Those like Nena Price, Truman’s cousin shared her memories of him with family.
“I know he used to come with his mom all the time and he’d help her up there and get together,” she said.
Family friend Jennifer Schultz, shared reminders from childhood.
“I guess we danced as little kids,” she said. “I don’t exactly recall. We were too little.”
It’s these tales of energy, enthusiasm and a love for public service Sobek said explained why so many people came to love Truman.
“All people were his friends, just friends he hadn’t met yet,” he said.
His family agreed.
“He was so compassionate, he would do anything for anybody,” Price said.
The emotional high point of the service came during the bell ceremony.
The Jefferson County Dispatch Center made their final call to Truman:
“The Lake Mills Fire Department will show number 94, Captain Christopher Truman reassigned to the Lord’s squad of heroes,” it called. “Today we honor you. You will never be forgotten.”
In the crowd, there were few dry eyes.
“When you hear that name called, knowing there’s going to be no response, it’s always tough,” Sobek said.
The hundreds of family, friends and fellow first responders gave their final salute after the service as the honor guard escorted Truman out to the traditional bagpipes.
“Give your mom and dad a kiss for me,” Schultz said after the ceremony. “Hopefully someday we’ll dance again.”
At the end of the service, the community left with a call to action. Lake Mills Police Chief Mick Selck asked everyone to do an act of service in Truman’s honor. He said it didn’t matter if it was as simple as forgiving someone who has wronged you or joining a local civic group. Selck said carrying on Truman’s love of service would be the best possible tribute.
More on this story at WKOW 27 News