HOUSTON—More than 160 firefighters from departments throughout Texas came to League City Tuesday to say goodbye to one of their own.
Donald Mize, 62, was training to be a volunteer League City Firefighter when he collapsed on March 11 during an exercise at the department’s training facility.
“Well, the second you walk through the front door in the fire service you’re considered a brother,” said volunteer firefighter Ray Bigonesse.
Mize was a retired school teacher with 30 years experience and so much more.
“He was with the Texas State Guard. He was with the Knights of Columbus for over 20 years. He had just started with us and had even gone through the League City Citizen’s Police Academy,” Bigonesse said.
Representatives from all were on hand Tuesday at St. Mary Catholic Church. His wife of less than three months looked on, as fellow cadets transferred his casket to the back of a fire engine for transport to his final resting place.
Along the way, there was a roadside tribute from fellow firefighters and grateful citizens.
“Most definitely,” said one woman, “He’s still a firefighter in their hearts.”
“Especially this gentleman, after having retired from this career and trying to start a new career to help the place he loved and where he lived,” said another woman.
It’s where Mize lived and gave of himself to the end.