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    Iola community mourning the loss of a long-time firefighter

    By Adam OrdunaCarina Branson,

    29 days ago

    WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Flags were flying at half-staff across the state Wednesday for two firefighters who died from service-related illnesses.

    Eric B’Hymer was a Wichita native but went to school in Halstead. He passed away at the age of 53 on May 14 at a Wichita hospital.

    B’Hymer was with the Iola Fire Department for 24 years. Those decades of service to his community were honored as his family, friends and colleagues said goodbye.

    The chief he worked with since 1999 says the community has a long stretch of grieving ahead but that his fellow firefighters will continue to bring B’Hymer’s passion for work to the community.

    “We’ll continue to serve the community just like you would have want us to do, and you know that’s more or less that’s how we heal, and that’s how we grieve, and that’s how we go through the processes you know we go through this, and we get on the trucks, and we go serve our community you know just like we’ve been asked to do,” said Iola Fire Chief Corey Isbell.

    Memorial service held for local emergency responder who died from service-related illness

    It was a day of honors or B’Hymer.

    “Roller coaster of emotions. It’s not every day we laid a rest a fallen firefighter in a small community,” said Chief Isbell.

    Those attending services wearing Kansas City Chiefs apparel in honor of B’Hymer’s favorite football team

    “Kansas City Chiefs, so that’s his number one team. I absolutely love them. He really never missed a home game as a season ticket holder that he was,” said Chief Isbell.

    B’Hymer was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of watching the Chiefs play in the Super Bowl. He was in attendance for Super Bowl 58 to watch the Chiefs beat the 49ers.

    As grief sets in and people begin to mourn, Chief Isbell says his legacy will live on through his fellow firefighters.

    “Unfortunate that it, you know, it fell short as it did, but you know, we’ll take him from here,” said Chief Isbell.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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