In a brigade of flashing lights and sirens, it was a hero’s final welcome home.
Captain David Lambers had been a firefighter with the Montana Air National Guard Fire Department at the Great Falls International Airport for more than 10 years.
Earlier this year, Dave was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer after he became ill in the summer months.
He was quickly rushed to Washington where he underwent cancer treatment with the hope of getting better enough to return to Montana to resume the treatment.
His friend and colleague Ben Hilpert described the process as difficult. “It had been tough with him over in Washington and not being here with, you know, support group and everything else. A bunch of us did travel to visit him but it was difficult.”
His battle with cancer was short, when Dave unfortunately lost his life on Sunday, November 12th, leaving behind his wife April, and his two children.
In a Facebook post by the MT ANG Great Falls Airport Firefighters, they said “Today we are drawn into remembrance. The complexity of love and loss both warms our hearts and chills our bones. Rest in Peace Dave!! Great Falls Airport Firefighters send our deepest condolences and love to the Lambers family. A great Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Captain and Leader. He definitely left his mark on us all and he will truly be missed!!”
Having still been in Washington, plans were made to get Dave and his family back home to Montana.
Hilpert explained, “It'll be nice to have him home finally. And that, you know, he's not suffering any more. The support has been phenomenal.”
The journey from Washington to Great Falls was long, but the family was met with support from nearly every corner.
Firefighters from various communities along the way lined up to give respect as Dave and his family passed through.
On the journey’s leg through Vaughn, a brigade full of various emergency service departments from all over Cascade County were there to finish out the trip and welcome Dave home.
It was quite a scene as the vehicles made their way from Vaughn to Tenth Ave South, with sirens and flashing lights guiding the brigade all the way through to Schnider’s Funeral Home.
““It's been truly amazing for the support that we've had,” Hilpert added. “Through all the fire departments in Montana and in Washington as well. Spokane fire has been awesome. It's just amazing when everybody comes together and, you know, it truly is a family. You really see the brotherhood of the fire service in times like these.”
Funeral arrangements are pending a later date. To support the family, you can click here to donate.