Remembering a Newport News firefighter

Photo courtesy Allen Klaugh

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Our firefighters and paramedics are there at a moments notice when we call for help. But Monday those same brave first responders are in need of a shoulder to lean on after losing one of their own.

After sudden illness forced Master Firefighter Paramedic Greg Brundage into a hospital bed in January, the man that so many people referred to as a big Teddy Bear, passed away Saturday.firefighter2

Monday would have been Brundage’s 45th birthday, and many who knew and loved him changed their social media profile pictures to the symbol of a badge with black tape across it — a sign that even the toughest people we know, are occasionally met with something too powerful for them to withstand.

Brundage’s family and friends and many Newport News firefighters are still trying to figure out how to say goodbye.

“I’m going to miss that man something terrible,” said Allen Klaugh. “He’s just an all-around good guy you know.”

Klaugh has known Brundage since he joined the NNFD in 2000. They lived in the same neighborhood, and both rode motorcycles with the Red Knights. They transferred to different stations over the years but always remained close.

“Everybody’s got friends and coworkers, but each one of us, I do believe, has that one special person in their life,” Klaugh said.

Klaugh thinks back on joking with his buddy in the hospital, not knowing it’d be the last conversation they’d have: “I just didn’t know it at the time, I just didn’t realize that was the last thing he said to me.”

Photo courtesy Allen Klaugh
Photo courtesy Allen Klaugh

They are among Newport News’ finest — trained to handle it all. But that doesn’t mean they don’t hurt, when tragedy hits home.

“First responders, we deal with death all the time, whether it’s natural causes or traumatic injuries,” Klaugh said.

Greg Brundage leaves behind his wife and children and his family at the Newport News Fire Department.

A Firefighter’s Funeral Service, called “The Last Ride,” will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday at Grace United Methodist Church in Newport News.

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