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Volunteer fire department in Mahaska County responds to one of its own

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Barnes City is down a volunteer firefighter and a contagious laugh around the station following a medical emergency Saturday in which firefighters responded to try to help one of their own. Gary DeCook, who had served on the Barnes City Volunteer Fire Department for 17 years, died after the health emergency Saturday. “He’d walk into a room and turn it from dark to light with just his laugh,” said Briar Awtry, the fire chief. Earlier Saturday, DeCook, 66, had been part of a work day at the fire station, which added to the surprise just hours later. “I couldn’t really believe what I was hearing that the call was out to Gary DeCook’s,” said Marvin Freeborn, who has been with the department for more than 40 years. “I just couldn’t hardly believe that.” The volunteer department had 16 members, including DeCook’s son. His gear still hangs in his locker draped with an American flag. “I don’t think Gary would have wanted it any other way to have his own guys there for the last moments,” Awtry said. Visitation will begin after noon Wednesday, Aug. 31 at the Lighthouse Church in New Sharon with the family present from 5 to 7 pm Funeral services will begin at 10:30 am Thursday at the Lighthouse Church. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Barnes City Volunteer Fire Department. Click below to watch more from Andrew Mollenbeck:

Barnes City is down a volunteer firefighter and a contagious laugh around the station following a medical emergency Saturday in which firefighters responded to try to help one of their own.

Gary DeCook, who had served on the Barnes City Volunteer Fire Department for 17 years, died after the health emergency Saturday.

“He’d walk into a room and turn it from dark to light with just his laugh,” said Briar Awtry, the fire chief.

Earlier Saturday, DeCook, 66, had been part of a work day at the fire station, which added to the surprise just hours later.

“I couldn’t really believe what I was hearing that the call was out to Gary DeCook’s,” said Marvin Freeborn, who has been with the department for more than 40 years. “I just couldn’t hardly believe that.”

The volunteer department had 16 members, including DeCook’s son. His gear still hangs in his locker draped with an American flag.

“I don’t think Gary would have wanted it any other way to have his own guys there for the last moments,” Awtry said.

Visitation will begin after noon Wednesday, Aug. 31 at the Lighthouse Church in New Sharon with the family present from 5 to 7 pm Funeral services will begin at 10:30 am Thursday at the Lighthouse Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Barnes City Volunteer Fire Department.

Click below to watch more from Andrew Mollenbeck:

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