Heartbreaking images are circling online, depicting the daughter of fallen firefighter Andrew O’Dywer, 20-month-old Charlotte, saying her final goodbyes.
Andrew died battling the bushfires ravaging New South Wales, Australia, when the truck he and another volunteer firefighter were in got pushed off the road by a falling tree on December 19.
The 36-year-old’s daughter stood beside his casket at the funeral on Tuesday, wearing his helmet and a newly presented service medal.
Donning his helmet, Andrew O’Dwyer’s tiny daughter, Charlotte, clung to the memory of her firefighter father, one of two RFS volunteers killed last month https://t.co/V5LXExVznG
— The Australian (@australian) January 7, 2020
32-year-old Geoffrey Keaton, a father himself to a 20-month-old, was killed alongside Andrew whilst battling blazes southwest of Sydney.
As per reports, little Charlotte refused to leave her dad’s side during Tuesday’s service, held at Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church.
This is fallen volunteer firefighter Andrew O'Dwyer's daughter, Charlotte, at his funeral yesterday. My heart sinks looking at her. There's a time & place to debate #ClimateChange but show some respect for those who have died & lost everything. #AustraliaBurning #AustraliaOnFire pic.twitter.com/BH7AwW9x1Y
— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) January 7, 2020
The fallen firefighter was posthumously awarded a service medal by the Rural Fire Service (RFS) at the funeral, while Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons delivered a heartfelt eulogy describing Andrew as a hero.
“Charlotte should know her father was a selfless and special man, who only left because he was a hero,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
The effects of the wildfires have been widespread and devastating since September. Reports say the current human death toll stands at 25, while more than half a billion animals may have lost their lives.
Rest in peace, Andrew and Geoffrey. We’re sending all our prayers and thoughts to their families at this difficult time.
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