N.Y. fire department honors terminally ill firefighter


N.Y. fire department gives terminally ill firefighter sendoff

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW/CNN) - A terminally ill firefighter received a sendoff from his second family Tuesday.

Seven years ago, 55-year-old Marine veteran Gus Buczek was putting 18-year-old’s to shame at firefighter boot camp.

“They looked at me, "If he can do it, I can do it,'” he said.

The South-Line Fire Company in Cheektowaga, N.Y. became his second home.

“You got your family at home and then you got a family here. You do,” Buczek said.

Buczek was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, and he is heading home to receive hospice care.

South-Line firefighters showed up to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center on Tuesday morning to give him a hero’s goodbye.

“He’d be there for us, first thing. We’re here for them,” said James Rudnicki, a fellow firefighter.

Buczek was rolled out in a wheelchair. They lined a path, saluting him.

"It means a lot to everyone in this department. He's the one guy you can call on to help you with anything," said Assistant Chief Michael Altenburg.

This served as a chance for goodbyes and a chance to remember.

“You had a 55-year-old man take a boot camp for two weeks, the firefighter 1 course, kids couldn’t keep up with him,” said Chaplain Tim Kopp. “He’s always been strong for us. And we’re all trying to be strong for him.”

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