Spring Valley, Wis. mourns death of fire chief

Moving memorial for Wisconsin fire chief

SPRING VALLEY, Wis. -- A western Wisconsin town is mourning the loss of its fire chief.

Terry Shafer led the Spring Valley Area Fire Department for 30 years.

Many call him the rock of the community and someone who would drop everything to help anyone.

"Terry was pretty much known as the go-to guy around town. He dedicated thousands and thousands of hours of his personal time to help the community," said Andy Vorlicek, a firefighter and member of the village board.

Fire trucks and ambulances from several communities drove through downtown Spring Valley Friday afternoon to honor Shafer.

Shafer died of a heart attack last weekend. Hours prior, he had responded to a call of a vehicle accident.

"We're all taking it pretty hard as a department," said Tom Boyer, a firefighter for Spring Valley.

The department is all volunteers and has 35 people on staff.

Pierce County Sheriff Nancy Hove said Shafer was the calm person at every emergency response and helped out the county as a whole.

"He was big into making everybody work together and everybody thinking about everybody else," said Hove.

Elementary school students were let out of class to watch the parade of fire trucks and ambulances drive through town as a teaching moment.

"We want the kids to understand what heroes really are. It's not about people who make a lot of money, it's people who give a lot back and that really summarizes what Terry is all about,' said Ken Lasure, the Spring Valley Elementary School principal.

Shafer was 62 years old.

Governor Scott Walker ordered flags to be flown at half staff in Shafer's honor.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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