LAKE MILLS, Wis. - The Lake Mills community is remembering a fallen hero, Capt. Chris Truman of the Lake Mills Fire Department.
"I truly believe the best way to honor Capt. Truman is by being a good person and helping out those around you. Pay it forward," said Police Chief Mick Selck. "By helping out your friends and people you don't know, you're honoring his memory."
During an unforgettable service Sunday at Lake Mills High School, Truman's colleagues in the fire department spoke of his infectious laugh, his "contagious" passion for the fire service and his willingness to help anyone who needed it.
"He was a compassionate, brave and committed public servant," said acting Lake Mills Fire Chief Todd Yandre.
Andy Brinkmann, a firefighter and operator from Lake Mills, said, "He was gone too soon."
As the Rev. Dave Sobek, a chaplain and firefighter from Lake Mills, presided over the service, he made sure Truman's sense of humor was carried throughout. The special music was the song "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash, which was a song Truman's fiancee, Amber Turfle, told the reverend that the fallen firefighter liked.
"He loved to laugh, just have a good time, play jokes, but when it was time to get serious, it was time to get serious, and I think that's what we tried to do today," Sobek said.
Truman was on his way to Selck's house Monday for a New Year's Eve party when he was hit by a car on the Beltline. He had exited his vehicle to help a woman whose car had spun out of control.
His fellow firefighters said it gave them some piece of mind knowing he died sacrificing his life for someone else.
"I was honored to know him. It was an honor to be his friend," said Selck, who said they had been friends for five years and saw each other every day.
Turfle said during a news conference last week that Truman would stop to help anytime he saw someone in a car crash.
"(There's) no doubt in my mind that, had he survived this, he would have done it again without question. That's just who he was," Sobek said.
For Sobek, the most powerful and emotional moment during the service came with the final page.
"When you hear that name called and knowing that there's going to be no response, it's always tough," he said.
While Truman cannot verbally respond, his colleagues said they're hoping his memory will live on through good deeds.
"Tell people how you feel about them ... because you never know when the last time you'll see them is," Selck said.