By Nicole Nielsen

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A funeral was held on Thursday, Sept. 9, celebrating the life and mourning the loss of David Leos, a 40-year Dallas Fire-Rescue veteran who died of COVID-19 on Sept. 2.

Friends, family and dozens of first responders gathered at Lakepoint Baptist Church in Dallas.

Outside the funeral for Dallas firefighter David Leos (Nicole Nielsen – CBS 11)

“He was a man who anyone would want to be more like,” said Julian Costanzo, with Dallas Fire Rescue.

Leos had just celebrated his 40th anniversary with Dallas Fire-Rescue in August.

David Leos (credit: Dallas Fire-Rescue)

It’s a milestone the department says they’re glad he achieved.

“I’ve come to realize, the importance of counting one’s blessings every day,” said DFR Capt. Christian Hinojosa. “Life can change so fast.”

Leos came down with COVID-19 in July, and had since been placed in Parkland’s ICU.

Last Wednesday night, fellow firefighters held a vigil outside his window, the night before he passed.

Dallas Fire Rescue says since the beginning of the pandemic, they’ve had 673 members test positive for COVID-19.

They say they hope this is their last COVID-19 death.

Department members say today was a reminder of the way firefighters put their lives on the line every single day, in more ways than one.

“It brings things into perspective for us as a department. Understanding that as first responders we are more so exposed…to what we have going on in the community and the pandemic,” said Jason Evans, Dallas Fire-Rescue’s Public Information Officer.

Evans said the funeral was another opportunity for the department to show what Leos meant to so many.

“This is how the brotherhood in public service carries on. Not only while you’re a member, but long after you’ve retired or passed. It’s a family and that’s never going to change,” Evans said.

Nicole Nielsen