Overwhelming gratitude continues for a Ralston firefighter after his unexpected death as the community shared their final goodbye on Sunday.
"He was good at making people better,” said Jonathen Thomsen, Brian Saathoff’s son. The oldest son of 39-year-old Brian Saathoff, emotional following the long-time fire fighter's sudden death just a week ago. "He was having a stroke. He was an EMT so he was pretty familiar with the symptoms. From there...it was kind of a mystery," said Nate Thomsen, Brian Saathoff’s son.
One Saathoff’s three sons are left to put together and still try to come to grips with. "Kind of woke up with a bad feeling anyways and then a couple minutes later I got the call from Anthony. We all love each other, but we don't talk frequently, so if I know they're calling I know something is going on,” said Jonathen.
The one thing not mysterious to the family - the outpouring of support for the Ralston hero. "He meant that much to me and to us, but also to a third of Omaha and Council Bluffs and every job and sector I could think of,” said Jonathen.
Carter Lake, Council Bluffs, and Ralston Fire paid their final respects to their lost brother at his visitation.
More there to honor a friend…some stopping to say thanks to a first responder. "Everybody he met was impacted in some sort of way that they thought they could rely on him for just about anything they would need,” said Nate.
"Ultimately, to him, it was, 'If I have the ability to give anything more, I'll give it,’” said Anthony Thomsen, Brian Saathoff’s son.
And he did.
On Friday, hundreds lined the hallway at Bergan Mercy Hospital as Saathoff was rolled through on a hospital bed, prepared to make one last donation. A life-saving one.
"He used his last burst to go and save a bunch of people and do a whole bunch of good for the world and that's exactly the kind of man I knew my dad to be."
Saathoff’s funeral service is at Wildewood Christian Church in Papillion at 10:00 Monday morning.