FLAGSTAFF (NAZ Today) – By: Kyle Anderson – Friday morning’s stormy weather only reflected the mood of the Flagstaff Fire Department as firefighter Mark McNeal was remembered in a funeral service at Christ’s Church of Flagstaff. But mother nature was wise; rains almost instantly paused for the procession of fire, police and personal vehicles between service and burial.
The memorial service at Christ’s Church was well attended by friends, family and members of the community as well as fire department color and honor guards dressed in formal uniform. McNeal’s casket was transported to its final resting place at Flagstaff Citizen’s Cemetary by fire engine.
“It was a great send-off for Mark,” said Flagstaff Fire Department captain Mark Johnson. “I felt like we honored him very well.”
McNeal served as a firefighter and paramedic in the city of Flagstaff for 28 years. He is survived by two daughters, 12 and 16 years old.
McNeal struggled with a rare form of cancer for about five years before his death. All forms of treatment, including radiation therapy and a major surgery, were unsuccessful in completely removing the disease, according to Johnson. There was a period where the cancer was thought to be in remission and McNeal returned to full service, but the disease returned, and McNeal spent the last part of his career on restrictive duty.
Speakers at the service remarked on McNeal’s positive attitude and contributions to the city of Flagstaff. McNeal’s impact on the community at large was evident in the public’s response to his death.
“There’s been a lot of prayers and thoughts that have come in to the department,” said Johnson. “[We] just do appreciate people recognizing what Mark did for the city.”
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