September 27, 2006--Posted at 6:15 p.m. CDT
WILLIFORD, AR--Christopher Bodkins was an ordinary 16 year-old country boy who enjoyed hunting, fishing, and mudding. But to those who knew him he was anything but ordinary. He was remembered Wednesday as a friend, fire fighter, new father but most of all he was a community servant.
"He thought he was a mechanic. When he grew up, he wanted to go into the service and be a mechanic," said stepfather Bill Cossey.
Although he was only 16 years-old, he was mature beyond his years.
"Since the baby was born, he has grown up a lot, he was a real good daddy," said Cossey.
Over 300 friends and family said their final goodbyes to Bodkins in an emotional ceremony. Bodkins' parents knew he impacted the community, but the turnout surprised even them.
"Apparently a whole lot from the turn out at visitation last night. A lot more than I ever thought of," said mother Angalina Cossey.
As part of the ceremony, fire engines from across the region escorted Chris' body to the cemetery. In addition, he received full fire fighter's honors, a designation reserved for those who lived a life of service.
"I think he will be remembered as a hero, because I think that is what he was. We were out there trying to save someone else," said Bill Cossey.
In his final hours Bodkins was doing what he loved to do....help others.
"It was paged at like three in the morning, before long he had my door open, the light turned on and said "come on, lets go." He was sitting in the car waiting when I got in the car," said Bill Cossey.
While he died in the line of duty, his parents say he wouldn't have had it any other way and they want to thanks those who helped with the search and rescue on Saturday.
"I would like to thank anyone who had any part in this and they know who they are. I am not going to try and name them, but in my eyes they are the heroes too," said Bill Cossey.