Firefighters' humor and dedication remembered

The two Medford firefighters killed in an crash last week were remembered today for their sense of humor and dedication to their job.

A memorial service at Mountain Christian Fellowship on East Main Street for Gale Gurr, 37, and John Wells, 51, who died Thursday after an all-terrain vehicle accident near Johns Peak, lasted around two hours. It was followed by a procession of fire engines from agencies throughout the state.

Friends, co-workers and family spoke before more than 1,000 people inside the church and in a large tent set up outside. They were honored as much for their sharp sense of humor as their dedication to their job.

"As a firefighter you don't have co-workers, you have family members," said Lance Gray, president of the local firefighters union board. "That's why we use the word 'brotherhood.'''

In addition, Medford fire Chief Dave Bierwiler and chaplain John Minor described day-to-day life with the duo at the fire department.

"These men shined so bright," Minor said.

A line of fire engines then paraded slowly through downtown and out onto South Riverside Avenue. The procession was circled by eight search and rescue helicopters and one carrying a large American flag.

— Chris Conrad

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