ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - The St. Paul Fire Department buried firefighter Shane Clifton on Wednesday. His chief said his picture was that of an iconic American firefighter – strong, proud and handsome, with a hint of stubbornness.
“I think it’s fair to say that firefighting was tailor made for Shane, and Shane made a superb firefighter and paramedic,” St. Paul Fire Chief Tim Butler said, speaking at the chapel of Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church.
Clifton was an 8-year veteran of the St. Paul Fire Department. His turnout gear is forever stained with the stories of the lives he saved and the patients he called his "5-minute friends."
“He always felt with all the patients that were having a bad day, he could make a difference and make it better,” union president Mike Smith said.
His fellow firefighters say he was still touching hearts when his own stopped. Cardiac arrest ended his life, but on Wednesday it bound an entire force that presented a medal to his grieving family. At moment like this, it is the brotherhood of the fire service that stands, escorts, comforts and serves.
From Gustavus Adolphus Church, Clifton’s casket was draped and raised onto his own Engine 14, which served as the caisson through the streets of St. Paul to Fort Snelling. As a veteran of the U.S. Navy, Clifton was buried with military honors.
The stars and stripes covered his casket, but it couldn’t cover the tears or wipe away the sorrow. A fellow firefighter said Shane Clifton’s death should recommit them to be worthy of his courage and share the passion, sacrifice and love he spread to his family...and to complete strangers.
Memorials are much appreciated and can be sent to:
Shane Clifton Memorial Fund
Attn: Carla Baier
55 E. 5th St., Suite 115
St. Paul, MN 55101