Last month, Andrew O'Dwyer lost his life fighting the ravaging bushfires in Australia after a tree fell on the vehicle and pushed it off the road.
The funeral service of Andrew O’Dwyer, an Australian firefighter who recently lost his life battling the raging wildfires in New South Wales, led to a touching and heartbreaking moment. During his ceremony, his 20-month-old daughter, Charlotte, managed to put a smile across everyone's faces after she was seen sitting on the floor munching chips right below her father's casket. Although the bittersweet moment made everyone's mood a little lighter, it reminded everyone of the little girl's innocence who didn't understand what was going on.
Girl Wears Her Australian Firefighter Dad's Helmet and Refuses to Leave His Side at His Funeral https://t.co/tNw4ZZTnAv— People (@people) 7 January 2020
36-year-old O’Dwyer was one of two volunteers who was killed on December 19, after a tree fell on their truck and pushed it off the road as they were battling the deadlyfires southwest of Sydney, according to PEOPLE. The unfortunate event also claimed the life of 32-year-old Geoffrey Keaton, who was also a father to a 20-month-old child. According to a report by 9News, the young girl refused to leave her father's side during Tuesday’s service, organized at Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church in Horsley Park. There was not a single dry eye during this emotional funeral that was attended by O’Dwyer's wife Melissa, and their two other children. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and hundreds of others from the community, too, attended the service.
The heroic efforts of the fallen firefighter were revealed and he was posthumously awarded a service medal by the Rural Fire Service (RFS) for it. RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons delivered the eulogy, and informed Charlotte that her dad was a "hero" before pinning the medal on her white dress. "Charlotte should know her father was a selfless and special man, who only left because he was a hero," said Fitzsimmons addressing the crowd reports Daily Mail. Both Melissa and O’Dwyer's father was given Errol RFS flags, which was was placed over the coffin.
The deceased firefighter had been a member of the Horsley Park RFS for 18 years and had joined the brigade when he was a teenager. When Fitzsimmons handed the helmet of the fallen firefighter to O’Dwyer's widow Melissa, Charlotte urged her to place it on her head. A sweet moment unfolded as the girl was seen donning a loosely fitted helmet on her head. It was a heartbreaking moment to see Charlotte kiss the coffin goodbye. Following this, his casket was shouldered by hundreds of volunteers from the RFS, who were standing in a guard of honor with their hands on the hearts right outside. An impromptu haka performance was also delivered by the Maori members from the RFS in O’Dwyer's honor.
So sad. May God take care of this little girl, her family and all the other human and animal victims and their families 🙏— Lisa Owens (@QueenLisaLu) 8 January 2020