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Firefighters, snowmobilers remember TeCulver

February 25, 2016
By Katrina Fuller ( , Westfield Republican

CLYMER - Underneath the colors of Old Glory, a young hero's life was remembered and his loss was mourned Saturday morning.

On Route 474 near North Clymer United Methodist Church, an American flag billowed in the wind as it hung from the ladders of two fire trucks in a touching memorial of Matthew R. TeCulver, 25, a seven-year member of the Clymer Volunteer Fire Department.

TeCulver passed away after a recent snowmobile accident and the tragic loss was felt across the area as was evident in the gathering of fellow firefighters, emergency personnel, family, friends and community members.

Article Photos

Photos by Katrina Fuller
Approximately 200 snowmobilers attended the service for Matthew R. TeCulver, a seven-year member of the Clymer Volunteer Fire Department who passed away due to a snowmobile accident. TeCulver was known for his love of the wintry sport, attendees said.

Over 100 members of the areas many volunteer fire departments gathered to honor TeCulver's memory, as well as approximately 200 snowmobilers.

Aside from his service in the Fire Department, TeCulver was also an avid snowmobiler and member of the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club.

A member of the Clymer Volunteer Fire Department said TeCulver should be remembered for his zeal for life and his giving heart.

"He would help you do anything. That's just how he was," the fellow firefighter said. "He loved snowmobiling, he loved engines and he was just always helping people."

A member of the Fluvanna Fire Department said he did not personally know TeCulver, but said it was important to him to be there.

"This is your duty," he said. "When of your brothers go, you show up."

Conor Webster, Falconer Volunteer Fire Department captain, spoke of the bond of volunteer firefighters both near and far.

"The fire departments are one massive brotherhood," Webster said, adding physical location is no boundary for the kinship felt by the members. "It is a shared bond where we put our lives on the line."

He said the seven-year service of TeCulver was admirable and his loss deeply impacted the local community as well as the community of area fire departments.

"It's a great loss in the fire service and in the community," Webster said. "To serve for seven years really says something. That is dedication."

Volunteers such as TeCulver and his fellow firefighters comprise 69 percent of firefighters in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The sacrifice of time given by volunteer firefighters saves United States localities $139.8 billion per year, however statistics show the number of volunteer firefighters is declining.

Webster said volunteers such as TeCulver and the fire departments they join are incredibly valuable to rural communities such as Clymer.

"If we don't show up, who will?" he said.

A time of memorial and remembrance was held at 10 a.m. at the church and the service was held directly afterward.

TeCulver was a resident of North Clymer and graduated from Clymer Central School in 2009. He was also a member of North Clymer United Methodist Church.



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