Mourning the Loss of a Leader

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He died doing what he loved. That's what Eaton Rapids Township Firefighters are saying about their Chief, Rick Wilbur. Wilbur died Sunday night responding to a call.

Eaton Rapids Township Firefighters were called to a structure fire on Old Barn Road, but when it turned out to be little more than a grass fire, most everyone was sent back to the station. The Chief stayed behind, and it was the last time any of his firefighters saw him alive.

Training Officer Brian Tort says a firefighter that had stayed behind on the scene noticed something was wrong and called for an ambulance. Scott Blackmer, Rick's brother and Assistant Fire Chief, says he and others broke a window out of Wilbur's truck, got him out, and gave CPR, but he couldn't be saved.

Chief Rick Wilbur, 56, leaves behind a wife, three children and grandchildren. Visitation will be held Tuesday and Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and again from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Shelley/O'Dell Funeral Home in Eaton Rapids. The funeral will be held Thursday at 11:00 a.m. in Eaton Rapids at St. Peter's Catholic Church.