Firefighters from across the metro volunteer to stay at side of fallen brother's body

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RAYTOWN, Mo. -- As Chuck McCormick's family finalizes his funeral arrangements, his fellow firefighters are standing by his side.

The body of the fallen West Peculiar firefighter is now resting at Newcomer's Floral Hills Funeral Home and Cemetery. It's where he'll remain until the visitation Friday, but McCormick won't be alone.

"It's very important for us that we are here to pay our respects and show the family that we are going to be here for them we are going to support them," said Independence Fire Capt. Michael Veit, who is also commander of the Honor Guard.

It's been more than 48 hours since McCormick died in a house fire Sunday. Firefighters are now standing watch 24/7 over the fallen firefighter's body until the internment.

The West Peculiar Fire Protection District is a small department, so because they don't have enough firefighters to cover all of the shifts, firefighters from across the metro are stepping up to help.

"It's an honor for us to be here," Verit said. "Last night when I sat down and started making phone calls, I only had to make a few phone calls and I had random individuals calling me that I've never even met. Firefighters who work in the metro fire service volunteering to step up and spend their time away from their families as well to be here with our fallen brother."

Giving the family time to grieve knowing their loved one is never alone is a gift. It's a tradition started in the military, adopted by first responders.

Standing watch with a fallen brother can be an emotional experience. Time to think and reflect not only about his sacrifice, but the possibility of their own.

"When you think about everything, you think about your family, you think about what we do and what we doing we're here to represent," Veit said.

Other departments including Kansas City, Belton and Grandview are also standing watch over the next three days.

McCormick's visitation and funeral services were announced Tuesday.

The visitation will take place Friday from 4-8 p.m. at Abundant Life Church located at 304 S.W. Persels Road in Lee’s Summit. Family will be present until 6 p.m. and a firefighters walk-through will occur at 5:30 p.m.

Funeral services will take place 11 a.m. Saturday at the same location. Cemetery services will be private, but there will be an apparatus procession to the cemetery, according to the West Peculiar district.

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