Firefighter Gary Johnstone would ordinarily be playing in the Pipe and Drum
Corps during memorial services. Now he’s
the one they played the bagpipes for as thousands packed a Peoria church
Thursday to say goodbye, a week after
Johnstone fell to his death in a
mountain rappelling accident.
remember the 50 year old Johnstone as possessing a stern, gruff exterior but a
large heart, always willing to help anyone in need, an a literal clown. As a fellow member of the
Corps Gary nicknamed “Dobby” said through tears, “ Gary is my Pipe Major, my
friend, and I miss him.”
Johnstone’s medic partner says, Gary was so like a member of the family, his
own kids got excited whenever they saw him. Sosa choked up as he called his
colleague, “more than a brother”.
ended with the traditional bell tolling to salute fallen firefighters.
was with his son and another teenager when the trio fell from the mountain. The
accident also killed 15 year old Trevor Crouse.
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