Communities mourn the loss of first responder

Darren Wright Westbrook

Local first responders are mourning the loss of Fort Payne Firefighter Darren “Spanky” Wright Westbrook, who died July 22.

Fort Payne Fire Chief Ron Saferite said Westbrook was an outstanding firefighter, did great charity work with the public and supported the Muscular Dystrophy Association for years helping a multitude of children.

“He retired after 26 years with the fire department and was helping the fire safety education program at Fort Payne High School,” he said. “He taught a lot of kids about fire prevention in the schools before that and went out of his way to help anybody.”

Westbrook is remembered as a “one-of-a-kind” man who positively impacted the lives of many people; he was “the epitome of service to others.”  

He was not only a first responder and educator but also a founding member of the Fort Payne Fire Department Honor Guard.

Saferite said Westbrook had been battling COVID-19 for about six weeks before succumbing to the disease.

“It’s pretty tough around the fire department right now. His loss leaves a big hole to fill,” he said. “He’s going to be missed as a brother, as a firefighter.”

Westbrook will be honored by his fellow first responders with a full fire department honors funeral.

Funeral service is 12 p.m. July 26, 2021 from the W.T. Wilson Funeral Chapel with Rev. Roger Graham and Rev. Thann Owens officiating. Burial will follow in Fischer Cemetery.

Visitation is from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, July 25 from the funeral home.

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