Jun 21, 2016 10:12 PM
A fallen New Hampton firefighter was laid to rest on Tuesday surrounded by his family, friends, colleagues, fellow servicemen and women, and more.
Douglas Clement suffered a fatal heart attack in his home in the early morning hours on June 14. He had returned from emergency rescue training the previous night and was on call at the time of his death.
“It’s been a busy week at the department with the line of duty death, but we’re very happy with the turnout today to show last respects for firefighter Clement,” said New Hampton Fire Chief Michael Drake.
Drake said he and his family were very close with Clement’s family since Drake was young. The unexpected death has taken a toll on the chief and the entire department, but he said they’re all starting to heal.
“They’re doing good,” Drake said. “The healing process will start after today because every day that goes by that you keep talking about it, it’s like opening up a wound, but they’re doing a lot better. I’m doing much better.”
Tuesday’s public services were held in the gymnasium at Newfound Regional High School. A private burial only open to Clement’s family immediately followed, and he was laid to rest in the New Hampton Community Cemetery.
Dozens of local servicemen and women from around the Lakes Region and across the state attended the ceremony, participating in a Sea of Blue to honor Clement. In line with tradition, a bell was rung before the procession to the cemetery.
“Somebody asked me, they said you’re going to have a hard time replacing him, and I said we’re never going to replace him,” Drake said before the service. I said, we won’t find anybody like him. I said, yeah they’ll be other people, but it won’t be anybody like Doug.”
Attendees at the services said Clement will be remembered for his vibrant personality, his sense of humor, and reliability.
“He would do anything that I asked, he’d offer you his last dollar, if that’s all he had in his pocket,” Drake said. “He’d give you the shirt off his back.”
Though the atmosphere Tuesday was somber, attendees took time to reminisce with one another and remember the happy memories they had with Clement.
Clement served New Hampton as a firefighter and EMT for nearly 20 years. A fiancé, four children and several immediate family members survive him.
“Doug was a special kind of guy,” Drake said. “We’re all going to miss him.”
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