CHICO, Calif. -- A service was held Friday evening in Chico for Cal Fire Mechanic Andrew Brake. Brake was killed in a traffic accident while on his way to battle the Carr Fire last week.
Andrew had a great smile, charisma, and was especially dedicated to his family - these are only a few of the ways Brake's family and friends described him to Action News Now.
Friday night's service was dedicated to honoring the first responder who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"He's just the sweetest nicest guy in the world and he just loves his daughters so much," said Barbara Lams, Brake's aunt.
Brake was born in Michigan but spent much of his life in Chico. He graduated from Pleasant Valley High School in 1996. He completed the mechanics program and fire academy at Butte College.
In 2012, Brake started as a seasonal firefighter in the Humboldt- Del Norte unit. Brake transferred to Butte County this past April from the San Benit- Monterey unit.
"He worked hard for many years so he could get back up to this area, and he was so happy when he got assigned to the Butte County area," said Lams.
Brake had only been back home for three months and stayed with his mother while he was looking for property.
"She's so thankful now that they had him around for those three months, you know it was just so wonderful to spend time with him," said Lams.
Former co-workers remembered a man who could bring a smile to anyone's face.
"He is just love, he was love! His smile, his charisma," said Dianne Staller, a former co-worker.
And friends remembered a man who was generous.
"He decided to give me this shirt because he wants me to wear it for him to make him happy," said Marty Poston, a friend of Brake's.
And family members remembered a loved one who simply lit up a room.
"An absolute smile, never had anything negative to say, certainly had adversity in his own life and had justification for sadness, but I certainly never saw it," said David Wright, Brake's uncle.
Brake leaves behind a wife and two daughters.
"They were most important to him and he was most important to them. They were like his anchor. And for them, the same thing," said Wright.
In a moving ceremony last week, the community came together to honor Chico's bravest.
"They raised the flag up in the middle of Mangrove and you just looked up at that American flag and you say, oh, God bless America, God bless the firefighters," said Lams.
There is a crowdfunding platform online in honor of Brake. You can find it here.
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