Firefighters Attend Alexandria Paramedic's Funeral
Joshua Weissman (courtesy: Alexandria Fire Department)
Funeral procession from Temple Beth El to Ivy Hill Cemetery (photo by Peggy Fox)
Flag hangs by station 206 where Joshua Weissman worked (photo by Peggy Fox)
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA) - Firefighters from across the nation gathered in Alexandria on Thursday for the funeral of Alexandria paramedic Joshua Weissman.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell authorized both Alexandria and Arlington to fly flags at half-staff for Weissman.
For hours, Alexandria came to a standstill as roads were shut down and schools dismissed early for Weissman's funeral. Hundreds who never knew Weissman stood in the rain and drizzle to honor a man who gave his life rescuing others.
He was remembered as man who was deeply committed to his wife and family, his friends, and passionate about his life's work.
The 33-year old lost his life after falling through a two-foot space between two bridges as he attempted to reach a burning car on I-395 last Wednesday. It was a 30 foot fall. His fellow paramedics rushed to save him below.
Alexandria Fire Chief Adam Thiel was called to the seen.
"I'll never forget looking over that railing and seeing josh. The only thing worse than being there was not being there," said Chief Thiel.
"He was a fighter, as you've heard. By all rights, we should have lost him," Thiel said, crediting the excellent patient care he received."
Joshua died a few days later. His station's firetruck carried his body from funeral to burial at Ivy Hill cemetery. Josh's brother Gabriel Weissman said he was born to be an emergency responder.
Gabe Weissman talked about an older brother who was fiercely protective of his little brother. He said Joshua was born to be an emergency responder and was always keeping up with the latest training to his job at the highest level. Gabe also thanked all the firefighters and paramedics for being his brother's second family and treating his family so well during this difficult time.
Gabe then read a moving eulogy from his brother's wife, Rebecca. The two met as volunteer firefighters in Central New York State eight years ago and married in 2005.
Fellow paramedic Kelsea Bonkoski talked about Joshua's quirky sense of humor, commitment to the job, and his love of life, "He was a wonderful story teller. He's not here to do it anymore. Don't worry Josh, we'll take it from here."
The firefighters and paramedics of The Alexandria Fire Department were able to honor Weissman and won't have to return to work until 7 p.m. Friday. Other jurisdictions will staff the fire houses.
Written by Peggy Fox