Fallen firefighter honored 30 years later

A Lincoln firefighter killed in the line of duty 30 years ago is being honored in a very fitting way.

Harley Grasmick was a dedicated firefighter, father and devoted husband.  He died on April 1, 1981, when the fire engine he was riding in collided with a train on the way to a call.

Harley relieved firefighter Kenneth Bothwell from duty that day.  Bothwell remembers that day, “I was getting on my motorcycle to go home and I heard two sirens leave.  I said, 'They're going on a run' and all of a sudden, the siren just died.  There was a big crunch and I knew then something had gone wrong.”

On Friday, exactly 30 years after the crash, Harley was honored by Fire Station 9, which put placed an emblem on their rig to honor their fallen friend.  His only son, Jeff, says, “For so many years, we always remembered him, but with this emblem being put on the rig, it really shows how much he meant to everyone at the station as well.”

Jeff says he never wanted to follow in his father's footsteps, but that all changed on the day of his dad's funeral.  “When I saw all the firefighters inside and how much pride that goes along with this job, that's when I decided I wanted to get on board and be a firefighter.”

20 plus years later, Jeff is still honoring his father by serving in a career that meant so much to him.  Harley's wife Tootie says her husband loved being a firefighter and was honored by the outpouring of support.  “He was a great husband and he was good father and a good friend.  He really was.”