Modesto, California – Thousands remember one of California’s bravest, Braden Varney, as they gathered Monday to say goodbye to the fallen firefighter.
The 36-year-old died on July 14th when his dozer rolled down a ridge while battling the Ferguson fire in Mariposa County.
A service was held in Modesto where Varney was given the highest honor of a type one funeral for firefighters killed in the line of duty.
A flag salute over the church and dozens of fire engines all to honor their brother Braden Varney.
A hero’s farewell on his last ride with his fellow firefighters.
Dozens of bulldozers lined the street in Modesto, as the hearse made its way to the church, where thousands were waiting to pay their respects to fallen Heavy Fire Equipment Operator.
“Lost, lost a good friend today,” Shain Braziel, a close friend, said.
Braziel, also a CAL FIRE bulldozer operator, said they trained side by side together during their academy days.
“We’re pretty much a brotherhood when it comes to HFEO’s,” he said.
Varney, a 10 year veteran of CAL FIRE, was killed July 14 when his bulldozer rolled down a ridge, while battling the Ferguson Fire in Mariposa County.
“He was a great person, wouldn’t have a bad thing to say about anybody, just a gentle giant is what I would say,” Braziel said.
Others who didn’t know the “gentle giant” are thankful for his sacrifice.
“It means a lot to us that Braden paid such a sacrifice to protect the community he lived in,” Jordan Motto, a fire captain with CAL FIRE, said.
Varney leaves behind his wife and two young children, ages 5 and 3.
As the service came to a close his fellow brothers and sisters in uniform, sent him off to his final resting place.
Braziel said, they lace up their boots never knowing if it’s going to be their last day on earth.
Inside the service program’s they included a special letter titled, ‘tell me about my dad’ where those who knew Varney could write down their stories to share with his children.
For those wanting to send condolences,
Cards and gifts can be sent to CAL FIRE Mariposa Headquarters ATTN: Jaime Williams c/o Varney Family 5366 Hwy 49N Mariposa CA 95338
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