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LAVON (CBS 11 NEWS) – Mia Smith and Marla Barth say they and others are still devastated by the loss of Nevada volunteer fire captain Peter Hacking and his two young children.

As former city employees, they knew him well.

“He’d bring the kids up to city hall and he was an excellent father. Happy go lucky, very intelligent, and very friendly,” says Mia Smith, a past Lavon city councilwoman.

Hacking, his 4-year-old daughter, and 22-month-old son were killed Thursday afternoon in a violent wreck along State Highway 78 near the intersection of State Highway 205.

Last year, Hacking was Volunteer Firefighter of the Year.

“Anybody who volunteers for a volunteer fire department is very committed to their community and helping others, and that’s what he did on a daily basis,” says Marla Barth, a past Nevada city secretary.

A Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman says a van in the opposite lane crossed the yellow line and crashed into Hacking’s car.

DPS says because the three people in the van remain in serious condition, they haven’t been able to talk to them yet to find out what happened.

For now, those around town and in the fire department want to support Hacking’s family and fellow volunteer firefighters.

“We obviously lost an exceptional person and his children and we just want them to know we care about him and we love him and we’re going to miss him,” says Smith.

Barth says, “Let his family know the community cared about him and he was very well-liked and he will be missed.”

The Nevada volunteer fire department, which also serves Lavon, has set up an account to help Captain Hacking’s family.

His wife is a teacher in the elementary school in Community ISD and some employees want to help the family as well.

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