Leaf River remembers fallen firefighter - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Leaf River remembers fallen firefighter

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LEAF RIVER (WREX) -

Candles lit the town of Leaf River Sunday night as the community came together to honor one of its first responders taken too soon. 

"Losing one is huge," said Leaf River Fire Chief Steve Shelton. "It takes all of us to make things happen and provide service to the community, and that one empty void, it's hard to fill." 

Nineteen-year-old Gregory Wood died in his home Thursday, when it caught fire around midnight. 
His mom, dad and little brother were also in the fire, but managed to get out in time

"Deputy Chief Mark Wood he's in the ICU, their youngest son Travis, he's in the ICU. Their mother Nicole, she's an EMT with this department," said fire trustee Christopher Davis.

All of them volunteered at Leaf River Fire Department. 

"You have entire families on here, that give their service, that don't get paid, they just do it for the love of community," said Davis.

And for this small volunteer department of just 41 people, these first responders say the loss hits hard. 

"For you to grow up with someone and join a service like this, I think the loss is just much more devastating," said Davis.

But in the aftermath of this tragedy, the department has also seen unity. 

"The support has been amazing, the neighboring towns who have come to cover our district, the community here, I don't know how to express it just to say it's overwhelming," said Shelton.

Fire chiefs from Rockford, Shirland, Byron and other communities gathered to support the Leaf River Fire family in their time of need. 

and raise a candle for their fellow first responder. A young man they say will be greatly missed. 

A memorial fund has been set up to help the family. To donate you can contact the German American State Bank at 815-362-3210 or Leaf River Fire Department Trustee, Dawn Plock 815-494-9197.

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