Hundreds gather to say final goodbye to KOTA Territory hero - KOTA Territory News

Hundreds gather to say final goodbye to KOTA Territory hero


Two weeks ago today an Arizona fire fighter lost his life in the line of duty.

It's been a difficult time for friends and family but today there was a final goodbye where Dustin DeFord was laid to rest in his hometown of Ekalaka Montana.

What defines a hero?

"Anyone who is giving up themselves, that is true human nature. To give your life for fellow man that is a true hero,"said Red Lodge Fire and EMS, EMT, Brent Oliphant.

If it's putting your life on the line to protect others then 24 year old Dustin James DeFord will be remembered as  a hero and more.

"He would have helped anyone. Anyone in need here or anywhere he would have helped them, he would have given his shirt off his back," said close friend, Brett Geck.

On June 30 near Prescott, Arizona, DeFord along with 18 other members of The Granite Mountain Hot Shots lost their lives while fighting the Yarnell Wildfire.

"We don't question where or why we just go out and do our duty," said Pennington County Fire Coordinator, Dennis Gorton.

Today friends and family gathered to pay their respect to this fallen hero.

Over 40 fire trucks from Montana and neighboring states led DeFord into the cemetery for one final goodbye. Which shows just how close this brotherhood is. 

"Anytime you get them together anytime there is a loss it's just part of the whole process the whole brotherhood so you just do what you can do,"said Gorton.

Many of those who attended today didn't even know DeFord, but because of his actions came to honor him.

"Coming out here and seeing the people honoring Dustin, there couldn't be anything more honorable than that,"said Oliphant.

As those who knew him say goodbye one last time, the memory and courage to protect others will live on forever in the firefighters, those who protect us, and all who knew Dustin.

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