CLINTON, Iowa (KWQC) -- Clinton was not the only community to attend Sunday afternoon's procession for fallen firefighter 33-year-old Lieutenant Eric Hosette. Firefighters, first responders and servicemen and women from across Eastern Iowa attended and saluted Hosette as the hearse carrying his remains drove to Clinton's central fire station.
Retired medic Connie Boles attended the procession, "its hard because we're all family, you get to know them, you become friends with them."
After Hosette's death, Boles has done her part to help fire crews heal by cooking meals for those at the fire station near her home. She said, " I did it because I knew that they were hurting and they weren't going to feel like cooking."
Boles grew up and still lives near a Clinton fire station and has grown close with fire crews there over the years.
"They were always there for me," she said, "For my dad when he was alive, my mom, they were there especially for me when my grandson died of SIDS so I'm going to be there to help them."
As a retired medic, she knows the risk Hosette and first responders just like him face when they answer the call.
"It's something he chose to do, he knew the risk, we all do," she said.
A call to serve shared by veterans, who also attended today's process to pay their respects. Vietnam War veteran Frank Piatz brought his own flag to wave as the procession drove by. He said he came to say goodbye one of his brothers.
"The American flag is the only things I got that I'm proud of," he said, "I fought for it, come home to it. I think that's how firefighters feel, proud to serve."
While some used this moment to honor a fallen hero, another used it to teach a group of young boys. The Clinton Boy Scouts troop came to honor Lt. Hosette and pay their respects. Chad Baker, one of the group's leaders, said the group had a connection to the fallen firefighter.
Lt. Hosette was one of their contacts with the Clinton Fire Department and set up tours for the group's scout trips.
As Lt. Hosette made his final journey home, he was greeted by hundreds who stood to show their support along the route. As the procession for the fallen firefighter made its way through the Quad Cities, first responders lined the overpasses of Interstate 80, Highway 61 and Higway 30. A large American flag hung over Highway 61 near Blackhawk Trail as the hearse drove by.
Members of the Davenport and Eldridge fire departments also stood in solidarity as Hosette's procession went by. Eldridge resident Linda Ewoldt also stood along the route. She said, "I guess we kind of take them for granted and just assume when we need them, they will be there. It is a honorable thing to do."
The journey home for Lt. Hosette began 200 miles away in Ankeny, Iowa. His body left the State Medical Examiner's officer around 1:30 this morning.