NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A solemn procession carried the remains of U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. and FDNY Firefighter Christopher Slutman to a funeral home in the Bronx on Monday.
The 15-year veteran of the FDNY was killed earlier this month by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Cpl. Robert Hendricks, of Long Island, and Sgt. Benjamin Hines, of Pennsylvania, also died in the blast.
Slutman, 43, left behind a wife, Shannon, and three daughters. The family lives just outside Wilmington, Delaware.
“It’s like a personal loss that we all feel. It’s like a member of my family has passed,” said John Newman, president of the FDNY Marine Corps Association.
WEB EXTRA: FDNY Honors Firefighter Christopher Slutman
Gold star mom Emily Toro, who lost her son, Isaac, in Iraq in 2007, told CBS2’s Scott Rapoport she makes it her mission to attend funerals of fallen heroes like Slutman, to be there for the family.
“I know exactly what the feeling (is), I know what’s in their heart that’s what I thought when I lost my son,” Toro said.
Bobby Eustace is a friend and colleague of Slutman from Ladder 27 in the Bronx, where black and purple bunting went up last week.
“Chris was supposed to be coming home in three weeks, so it’s still almost shocking,” Eustace said.
“Together, all firefighters grieve the loss of our brother, Christopher, who dedicated his life to protecting the people of this city, and our nation,” said Gerard Fitzgerald, president of the FDNY-UFA Firefighters Association.
Slutman was awarded the Fire Chief Association Memorial Medal for saving a woman from a Bronx fire in 2013.
“He was good. He was always positive. He was always doing things for people, so you felt good if he were around. And if you were having a problem he could help you,” his father, Fletcher Slutman, said.
“It affects, I think, everybody, everybody once you lose somebody, especially when you kind of knew them, in your neighborhood. So yeah, it’s very very saddening,” neighbor Alex Montag added.
Monday’s procession began around 10 a.m. at Dover Air Force Base and lasted approximately three hours.
Slutman will be remembered for his enormous legacy of courage and service. His wife posted on Instagram that her husband was “a man of integrity and a gentleman in all he did.”
Slutman’s wake is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Joseph A. Lucchese Funeral Home in the Bronx. His funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Thomas Church in Midtown.
Last week, the remains of Cpl. Hendricks were transported back to Locust Valley.