Family searching for answers after Raymore firefighter dies suddenly while on vacation

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RAYMORE, Mo. -- Jason Coppedge, 38, was a lot of things. He was a firefighter, a family man, but more than anything he was loved. And that's something his family was reminded about when he suddenly passed away last week while on a family vacation.

"We went to Philadelphia, Gettysburg, New York City; we were in Salem for Halloween; we went to Boston, and our last stop on the trip was going to be Washington D.C.," Jason's wife Shana Coppedge said.

Shana and her family never got to finish their annual vacation after Jason suddenly died.

"We got the camper set up, and we were making dinner," Shana said. "And he said he wasn't feeling very well, and he just didn't feel right. He stood up to go and lay down and just said 'I'm dizzy,' and he collapsed, and that was it."

Jason was pronounced dead in a nearby hospital. The autopsy that followed was inconclusive, and it's something that has left his family searching for answers.

"He was in the best shape I've seen him in, and that's why it's just -- I want an answer. It just hurts to not have an answer," Shana said.

Despite Jason's untimely death, Shana said her husband lived his life to the fullest.

"His big loves and passions in his life were fire fighting, scouts and his family," she said. "He got along with everybody. Everybody loved him and I've never truly known that until this week with the outpouring of love from every corner."

Lee Stevens, chief of South Metropolitan Fire Protection District, said the outpouring of support has been overwhelming and something they'll always give back to Jason's family.

"We're here for them," Stevens said. "They're part of our family, and they will remain part of our family forever, and we will support them however."

While it feels Jason was taken too soon, Shana is grateful for the time they did have together.

"I'd rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special, and I had 20 years of amazing with him." Shana said. "For us to be able to have one last family adventure and for my children's last memory of their dad to be the fun and the adventure to see all of those amazing places and do all of those amazing things -- I will treasure those memories the rest of my life."

Even in death, Jason was able to do what he loved most and help others. Doctors were able to harvest several of his organs, including his cornea and heart valves, something his family takes solace knowing a piece of Jason will live on.

Jason's family started a GoFundMe page.

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