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Fallen Tallahassee firefighter honored for service to community

Law enforcement, city officials in attendance at fallen firefighter's funeral
Law enforcement, city officials in attendance at fallen firefighter's funeral
Posted at 12:00 AM, Dec 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-19 05:50:07-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Family, friends and colleagues said their final goodbyes to a Tallahassee firefighter.

Engineer Jeff Atkinson died Thursday night while on duty. He had just turned 43 years old.

Jeff Atkinson was described as "everybody's best friend," a good father and husband, and a man of faith. More than a hundred first responders and loved ones said goodbye to a man everyone seemed to love and respect.

The sudden loss of Atkinson broke hearts across the community. The 17-year veteran's colleagues had nothing but praise for him.

"Truly a person that was loved," said Chief Jerome Gaines with the Tallahassee Fire Department. "He was a person that was respected. He was a person that had an impact on the lives of a lot of people."

"Jeff showed me how to be a better firefighter, a better friend, and a better father, and I will honor him by trying to do so every day," said Engineer Nathan Roberts who's also with TFD.

"I make Jeff this promise," said Engineer Chad Sims with TFD. "When I ever do get promoted to lieutenant, you got one of these, brother. I'm bringing the other one to you."

First responders came from all over the sunshine state to say goodbye. Atkinson's wife and four-year-old daughter followed his casket, draped with the American flag, as it entered and left the venue.

"He was committed to his profession," said Chief Gaines. "He was committed to his family, and he loved doing what he was called to do, and that was to serve this community."

Before the funeral, a processional led Atkinson's body into the Pavilion at the Centre of Tallahassee. He was buried shortly after the ceremony, surrounded by friends and family.