Hundreds gathered for fallen firefighter's funeral - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Hundreds gathered for fallen firefighter's funeral

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CHRISTOPHER (WSIL) -- Hundreds of firefighters lined the inside of Christopher High School to honor fallen firefighter Kody Vanfossan. 

Vanfossan died while fighting a structure fire early Sunday morning

News 3 was the only media allowed inside the service, as people paid their final respects to the fallen hero. 

"The scripture says no greater love than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friends," Officiant Father Urban Osuji said. "Strong people stand up for themselves, but stronger people stand for others."

Family, friends, and community members filled the gym at Christopher High School to say goodbye to a man who paid the ultimate sacrifice. 

"Kody lost his life doing what he loved," friend and firefighter Travis Skinner said. "Kody was a hell of a firefighter and a hell of a friend."

Five days after Vanfossan died in the line of duty, firefighters paid their final respects to their fallen brother. 

"I saw another person and said where are you from," Father Osuji said. "He's from up in the Chicago area."

"He's going to be missed, missed by several," Firefighter Ron Little said. 

State leaders also took the time to honor Vanfossan.

"Our commitment is that Kody will never be forgotten," Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, said. 

Rep. Dave Severin, R-Benton, presented the Vanfossan family with a proclamation for Kody's legacy.

"All Illinois residents owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women firefighters who selflessly serve, to protect out lives and keep our community safe," Severin said. 

Vanfossan was a third generation firefighter. 

"Kody loved to be a fireman and idolized his father and followed in his footsteps," Skinner said. "Which made him one of the best firefighters I knew."

Vanfossan now reports to his new station with his new assignment.

"His memory and legacy will live on as he now joins the most elite in the line of duty," Franklin County Emergency Management Director Ryan Buckingham said during Vanfossan's last call over the scanner. 

During the ceremony, the traditional "Ringing of the Bell," was done by Vanfossan's dad after the Fireman's Prayer. 

The bell is rung three times to symbolize the final event of a line-of-duty death and a firefighter has come home for the final time. 

"For he who has devoted his life to the food for the fellow man, his task completed and his duty damn well done," Brent Vanfossan said during the ceremony. "To my son Kody Vanfossan, his last alarm number 57-18, he is going home."

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