TERRELL (CBSDFW.COM) – Emergency workers from across the country attended the funeral for a Dallas firefighter on Monday morning. William Scott Tanksley died last week while responding to a crash on an icy overpass. His memorial service was held at the Terrell Independent School District Performing Arts Center.
Firefighters from as far away as New York were in attendance for Tanksley’s funeral along with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and other Dallas city officials, Dallas Police Department Chief David Brown, and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.
Tanksley died last Monday night while he and other firefighters were helping motorists involved in a wreck on the Spur 408 overpass, which had been covered in ice after winter weather blew through North Texas. The firefighter fell from the overpass onto the roadway below. It was Dallas Fire-Rescue’s first fireman fatality of 2014.
Hundreds of people lined up outside of the funeral home in Mabank on Sunday. Tanksley grew up in Kaufman County. Members from Dallas Fire-Rescue escorted Tanksley’s family to the visitation. He leaves behind a wife and three children.
Chief Tim Johnson of the Tyler Fire Department knew Tanksley and his family for many years, and said that this is a very solemn time for firefighters across North Texas. “We’re always showing up to help somebody, usually on their worst day,” he stated. “We all know that. We know what it takes. We know that warrior spirit that most firefighters have. We are just here to support Scott and his family.”
Gary Freeman’s friendship with Tanksley started when they were small children. “He always had the world at his fingertips,” Freeman said. “He was good looking, athletic guy, smart guy. He could do it all, but with humility. He never bragged about being the best.”
Mourners from all over the country gathered at 10:00 a.m. on Monday to pay their last respects. Tanksley will be buried at Restland Cemetery in the Garden of Honor in Dallas. “The best coach. The best friend. He will be dearly missed,” added mourner Tina Whitley. “There’s too much to say. What can you say? He was a hero. We’ll never forget him.”
The official attendance for Tanksley’s funeral is not yet known, but was estimated to be more than 2,000 people.
Dallas Fire-Rescue Chief Louie Bright offered comfort to Tanksley’s family, and his extended firefighter family. “Even though its been a tough week, and we’ll have more,” he said, “we’re able to smile because we know Scott lived life to the fullest.”
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