Hundreds Gather in Sheridan To Remember Fallen Firefighter
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SHERIDAN, N.Y. — Leading a processional down Route 20, the Sheridan Fire Department carried the body of 64-year-old Ronald Keddie, as hundreds turned out for his funeral service Tuesday.
Several lined the driveway of the Sheridan Fire Hall, as Keddie’s fellow firefighters followed the body as it made its way through.
Surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, Keddie was remembered as a dedicated family man who was devoted to the fire department.
"The man had no hobbies; he didn't play golf, he didn't hunt and fish, didn't go on vacations. The fire service was his passion," said James Crowell, Sheridan Board of Fire Commissioners Chairman.
Keddie died unexpectedly last week of a heart attack. He was supposed to follow another vehicle to a car accident, but didn't show up. He was later found unresponsive on the floor at the fire hall.
Keddie’s death comes less than a year after the loss of Sheridan Fire Chief Jeff Roberts last December.
“This is the second time that we have had to bury one of our own in the past six months. It doesn't get any easier, but seeing you all here today takes a bit of the burden away from our tragic loss," said Chief Aaron Brinkman, Sheridan Fire Department.
“He was truly a firefighters' firefighter. He lived the fire department, he tried to get people to understand that, tried to get people to join, supported those that belonged to the fire department. If anyone ever had any questions or issues, he was always there,” said Julius Leone, Chautauqua County Emergency Services Director.
Not only did Keddie dedicate his life to the Sheridan Fire Department, serving as chief, a volunteer, and a trainer for New York State, but in the department's century long history, he is the only firefighter to have died in the line of duty.
"Of course, that makes it a little more tragic, an active firefighter who responds and dies on an alarm, and that's never happened in this fire district in a hundred and two year history," said Crowell.
Keddie is survived by his wife Kathleen, three children and four grandchildren.