PHOENIX - Hundreds of firefighters and community members gathered at Christ's Church of the Valley in Peoria on Thursday morning to say a final goodbye to Daisy Mountain fire captain Wade Barter.
Barter was accidentally killed while on a hunting trip in Colorado earlier this month.
Firefighters came from all over the Valley to pay their respects. Barter was a Navy veteran and had worked at the Daisy Mountain Fire Department for 17 years.
In his time there he wore many hats. Serving as a firefighter, engineer, captain, terrorist liaison officer, Hazmat coordinator, and the president of the Daisy Mountain firefighter charities as well, but friends said his favorite titles were that of "father" and "husband."
Friends said he had a heart to serve and never said no. He was known as quite a cook around the station, and was famous for bringing his smoker to work, and his brisket with the "burnt ends".
"He left a mark at the Daisy Mountain fire department. One that is not going to fade anytime soon," said Jon Binsbacher, a colleague who had worked with Barter for more than a decade.
Barter’s sons also spoke fondly of their dad, and what a great role model he had been for them.
"My dad used to say I drove him crazy because I was just like him," said his son Adam Barter.
Tanner Strait, also a son of Captain Barter added, "He could make anyone laugh at any given moment, without missing a beat."
The loss comes as a heartbreaking shock to those who knew and loved Barter.
"Wade was supposed to be that stubborn old man that would refuse to die, but yet here we are today, wondering why this happened to such a strong man who had so much to live for," said Strait.
Barter's friend Johnny Huerta sang a beautiful song in honor of his friend.
The service concluded with the Firefighters Prayer, the sounding of the bell, and the last alarm. They are traditions upheld at firefighter funerals across the country for the last 400 years.
Barter leaves behind a wife and five sons, the youngest of whom is 6-months old.
Friends and family members have set up an account to raise money to help Barter's family through this tough time. If you'd like to donate, click here.