Tucson firefighter first to be given final ride on 'Last Alarm' truckPosted: Updated:
TUCSON, Ariz.-- It was a dying Tucson firefighter's last wish, to be transported to his final resting place in a fire truck. Friday his final request came to pass.
Tucson firefighter Jim Russell wanted nothing more than a proper firefighter farewell.
"My dad lived and breathed for the fire department," said James Russell.
Before he died from cancer in March 2010, Jim, a 30 year veteran of the department was director of the Last Alarm Foundation.
It's a group of retired firefighters who restored an old fire engine that could transport fallen public safety members to their final resting place.
"As my dad and all of them used to say, 'A fireman would like to have his last ride on a fire truck, not the back of a Cadillac,'" said Russell.
Friday, nearly two years after his death, Jim became the first to have the "Last Alarm" ride.
His family had been holding his ashes until the truck was ready.
"I think my father is looking down on us right now and couldn't be any prouder than at this moment," said Russell.
The truck took about six years to restore, made possible by more than $300,000 in donations.
Its logo consists of a Maltese cross, a symbol of honor and protection, as well as a rose, the national flower of the United States.
"This truck, as far as we know, is one of a kind in the whole country," said Last Alarm Foundation president Edward Montano.
A one of a kind truck, now granting last wishes for some of our country's greatest heroes.