Wapanucka Fire and EMS remember late fire chief

WAPANUCKA, Okla. (KXII) - "Gary was one of the one's that if you needed something all you had to do was call - fire department or not, if you needed help he would stop what he was doing and he would be there," Robert Reeder said.

"He took that character and that personality with him every where he went," Johnston County's Director of Ambulance Service Kenny Power said.

Gary Reeder, 40, spent all his life in Wapanucka - working at the local volunteer fire station and with the Johnston County EMS for about 22 years.

Robert Reeder, Gary's uncle and Assistant Fire Chief, says Gary was chief of the fire department for all but five of those years.

"He loved the fire department he loved working with all the young ones," Reeder said. "He liked taking them under his wing and training them up to try to teach them to do things without getting hurt. He's just a good guy."

Reeder says Gary was under the house trying to see if he could fix an electrical problem when he was electrocuted.

"When I got there, they had already started CPR and then I took over for his son," Reeder said.

But Gary - a husband, a father of three and grandfather died.

"I mean you can see the emotions all over," Power said. "It's a sad time for everybody (and) that's an understatement."

Reeder says Gary was in the middle of getting the department trained to handle swift water rescues, a goal Reeder says he will take over and accomplish for Gary.

"Everybody is still trying to gather their wits about what happened and comprehend that it's really happened," Reeder said.

A service will be held at the Wapanucka Schools Gym Thursday at 10 in the morning.

Power says surrounding fire departments have offered to watch over the town while Wapanucka firefighters and EMS attend the service.

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