Fire trucks get special makeover for funeral of firefighter killed in line of duty
Harris Auto Body shut down its collision center to detail the trucks that will be used in the funeral of Christopher Roy
By Cyrus Moulton
Telegram & Gazette
WORCESTER, Mass. — For years, they've watched from across the street as the trucks go in and out of the Park Avenue fire station, protecting the city and its residents. Now Harris Auto Body is returning the favor, giving two fire trucks a final detailing in preparation for firefighter Christopher J. Roy's funeral services.
"This is the least we could do," said John Joubert, an employee at the shop. "It humbles you, and it's a good feeling — you're helping these guys out in a time of need."
Firefighter Roy, 36, died Sunday from injuries sustained while fighting an early-morning fire at 7 Lowell St.
The tragedy has hit the Worcester community and the firefighting community hard, and thousands are expected to pay their respects to the Roy family this weekend. Calling hours will be held at St. John's Catholic Church, 44 Temple St., from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. John's with burial to follow at Notre Dame Cemetery, 162 Webster St.
A memorial fund has been established by Worcester Firefighters IAFF Local 1009 in the name of Firefighter Roy's daughter, Ava Roy. Checks may be made payable to the Ava Roy Fund and mailed directly to the Worcester Fire Department Credit Union, 34 Glennie St., Worcester, 01605.
Engine 5 and Ladder 4, from Firefighter Roy's Webster Square fire station, are to be on display at services: Engine 5 will carry the casket; Ladder 4 — the truck on which Firefighter Roy served — will display funeral flowers.
And both were in need of a spruce up in preparation.
"What we're doing is kind of giving them a quick makeover," said Mr. Joubert.
Harris Auto Body shut down its collision center Wednesday and Thursday to fulfill the task.
A team of six employees pressure-washed the trucks, cleaning off grease and tarnish. The paint was touched up, the lights polished, the chrome cleaned, wheels refinished, and the trucks were buffed and waxed.
"We've taken a week's worth of detail work and put it into a day-and-a-half," estimated Mr. Joubert on Thursday afternoon. And Engine 5 was still in process.
"It's been all hands on deck," said Doug Haddad, whose family owns the business. "Keep going, whatever it takes," he urged employees as they power-washed Engine 5.
The work has been emotional.
Mr. Joubert pointed out two seats in Ladder 4 that faced each other.
"Imagine having your whole career looking at that firefighter then having it empty riding back to the station," Mr. Joubert said. "Coming back and there's one less guy, that's got to be tough."
But the shop — which did similar work after the Cold Storage Fire in 1999 and for the funeral of Firefighter Jon Davies Sr. in 2011 — was glad to volunteer and do it.
"I'm pretty honored," said Worcester Technical High School student Ezequiel Anaya, 17, who works part-time at the shop but had gotten the day off from school Thursday to help out. "We've got to take care of them because they take care of us."
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