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Brother of fallen hero: "I will always remember him as an optimistic, loving individual"

Posted at: 12/31/2012 4:11 PM

Hundreds of firefighters, police officers, emergency responders and friends and family, came out to Saint Stanislaus Church to pay their respects to their fallen brother, Tomasz Kaczowka.

Kaczowka gave his life serving his community when he responded to a fire the morning of Christmas Eve.

Monday, his friends, family and fellow firefighters came together to remember the volunteer firefighter in a mass that was a true testament to the spirit of service that lived in the 19 year old every day.

“Even though no words will ever describe my brother, I will always remember him as an optimistic, loving individual, with a contagious smile who always put the needs of others before his own." That's the way many people, including his brother Darek, will remember Tomasz Kaczowka.

The West Webster Firefighter was laid to rest Monday, after making the ultimate sacrifice, doing what friends and family say he loved best. His brother Darek said, “Waking up at a moment's notice, this selfless volunteer would run out of the house with only one thing on his mind -- to help those in danger as quickly as possible. I now know this was so much more than a hobby, this is what Tomasz loved to do and needed to do. His passion and commitment to the service is something to admire."

Tomasz's brother says he remembers being woken up by the sound of Tomasz's pager many times in the night. As Tomasz raced out the door to the call, he would tell his parents, “Mom, don't you know, I’m going to save lives."

Darek said he once felt like Tomasz was abandoning their family but he soon came to understand, Tomasz was just going to spend time with his extended family, his brothers and sisters from the West Webster Fire Department.

West Webster Firefighter Nick Volo said, “He will be deeply missed, but I know that while we are going about our daily lives, whether it be at work or running calls, Tomasz and Chip will both be watching over us and have our back. Rest easy brother and we'll take it from here."

Lieutenant Michael Chiapperini was laid to rest on Sunday. He served the West Webster Fire Department for 25 years but his service to his community didn't stop there. He also worked as a Webster Police officer for nearly 20 years.