BLACKFOOT, Idaho - Blackfoot Fire Capt. Kurt Aikele was laid to rest Friday at Riverside-Thompson Cemetery.
It was a somber day in Blackfoot. Fire engines from across the state lined the street outside the church where the memorial service for Aikele was held.
Emotions were high as the bagpipes played "Amazing Grace."
The casket was carried out to the white hearse and taken on a last ride behind a motorcade of fire engines. It went past his home to his gravesite, where family and friends gathered for the fireman's last call and emotional tribute to a community hero.
"Captain Aikele was a great man. He was a good leader. He fought a valiant battle with cancer for the last four years," said Capt. Dave Krumenacker of Blackfoot Fire.
Capt. Aikele passed away Dec. 8th following a four-year battle with cancer.
He served 21 years with the Blackfoot Fire Department.
Krumenacker said Aikele was a leader of the guys, "He was a good paramedic, he provided an excellent level of service to the community. He dedicated pretty much his life to it. He leaves behind a wonderful family, a dedicated family. A family that's going carry on his legacy. He leaves behind grandchildren. The guys he's taught at the department, they'll carry on his legacy for generations."
Capt. Aikele is survived by his wife, seven children, and 12 grandchildren. He was 58 years old.
"We don't like to put an end to things, kind of look for the best, have hope, biggest part of life. life moves on, we see it every day. It just usually isn't one of us," said Krumenacker.
Capt. Aikele was also a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, where he served on the church auxiliary team that provided first aid at the LDS conference center in Salt Lake City.
He also loved to teach, and was a mentor to his fellow firefighters. He organized the first paramedic class at the department, and also taught first aid and CPR classes throughout his career with his wife at Idaho State University.