IOWA -- On Sunday afternoon, 33-year-old Lt. Eric Hosette made his way from the Iowa State Medical Examiner's Office in Ankeny, back to his home in Clinton, Iowa, to be laid to rest. Along the way, fire departments from across the state paid their respects to the fallen hero and 12-year veteran of the Clinton Fire Department.
Hosette died Saturday while responding to a fire at a grain processing plant in eastern Iowa.
In the procession, a fire truck led the way for a hearse carrying Hosette back east to his town of Clinton.
Nearly every overpass on the 200 mile trip was filled with firefighters and members of the public wanting to pay their respects.
"I guess we kind of take them for granted and just assume when we need them, they will be there,” Linda Ewoldt said in Eldridge, Iowa. “We don't always think about the risks they put themselves in. [They] endanger their lives so we can be protected. It is a honorable thing to do.”
“I don't think we honor these people enough for what they do for us. For the most part, they're forgotten until something like this happens,” Del Tiesman said in Clinton.
Flags lined several streets as Hosette made his way home, including in front of the McCulloh's home.
“We had no other idea what we could do to support them,” Dana McCulloh said.
“We just thought we'd try to do something, something small,” Greg McCulloh said.
“They are there for us all the time. We're fortunate to have not needed them, but when they're needed, they're there,” Dana McCulloh added.
More and more people made their way to Clinton as the processional neared, to not only support Hosette, but also the entire Clinton Fire Department.
“Just let them know they are not alone. We are all here for you. We understand the dangers. We understand the risk, and they are not alone,” Clinton EMT Kelli Overberg said. “The whole community is behind them.”
Hosette leaves behind a wife and a young daughter.
“Remember him. Remember the man, the father and the servant for the city,” Tiesman said.