Mass Helps Virginia Town Grieve Fallen Firefighter

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By Jessica Easthope

The regular Sunday night Mass at Christ Redeemer Catholic Church carried extra weight this night for the folks in Sterling, Virginia.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said one parishioner at the church.

The Mass comes two days after one of their own was killed in the line of duty when a house exploded.

“It seemed very important to give them some space where they could be together and we want to try to make it as informal as impossible,” said Father Joel Jaffe.

As first responders sat inside wearing jackets with the words Sterling Volunteer Fire Company written across their backs — the same words fallen firefighter Trevor Brown wore, too — Pastor Jaffe stressed the need for unity at a time of great loss.

“How important it is during times of tragedy that we don’t isolate, that we come together, and that’s exactly what they did,” Father Jaffe said.

“Naturally it’s a tough time for the company and the community,” said Sterling Volunteer Fire Company Chief David Short.

Chief Short said the past two days had been anything but easy.

“Mr. Brown was a great member of the volunteer fire company. I served with him on my crew for quite a while. His loss is a major one for our company and for the community.”

And even in times of devastation, the job must continue.

“I have a lot of folks still on duty, we’re still maintaining fire protection for the folks in Sterling,” Chief Short said, “So we still have a job to do and a lot of my team is still out there doing the job.”

“He saved lives, and it cost him his life,” Father Jaffe said. “They are in our prayers. We are praying for the families of all the fallen firefighters.”

Funeral services for Trevor Brown have yet to be announced.