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West Webster firefighters hold procession after Mike Chiapperini's funeral

Posted at: 12/30/2012 6:49 PM
Updated at: 12/31/2012 12:04 AM
By: Joangel Concepcion

Sunday's funeral service for Lt. Mike Chiapperini ended around 2 p.m. But the outpouring of support did not end there.

Following the service, all of those in attendance held a procession from the high school to West Webster Cemetery on Maple Drive.

A special trip was made to the West Webster Fire Department-- a place Lt. Chiapperini spent several hours as a volunteer firefighter.

It was a moment this Webster community never saw coming.

Ed Hatchett said, "I think the shock. The absolute incomprehensive aspect of this type of a tragedy."

Laura Hatchett said, "This hit home. Everything else has been happening so far away and this is actually here right now."

Father and daughter, Ed and Laura Hatchett waited for the funeral procession to come by for hours.

At first it was just a handful of supporters, but a short time later hundreds lined the streets in front of the West Webster fire station, honoring a man who not only served this community, but who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Laura Hatchett said, "It's totally shocking for me to see how many people have come from out of town and how many donations everyone has gotten so I think it's awesome."

Emma Crandall also watched the procession said, "I'm hoping it will show them that they have support no matter where they go especially with the people that came in from absolutely everywhere."

They came together in community and friendship, some even bringing children to take part in this historical moment.

Chris Willoughby said, "It instills a sense of appreciation in the kids. They will remember this for a long time even though they are young now."

As the casket came through, the town nestled on top of a Webster fire truck.

The crowd was silent. It was their last glimpse of the local hero and their last chance to say goodbye.

Firefighters from all over the area stood side by side with the members of their community-- men and women who say they appreciate them more than ever.

It's been almost a week since the tragedy and the community is still standing strong. They tell News10NBC they vow to stick together especially on Monday when they will have to say goodbye yet again to another fallen hero.