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Firefighters pay tribute to Chief Mark Souders | Community Spirit

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Firefighters pay tribute to Chief Mark Souders
Firefighters pay tribute to Chief Mark Souders

Manatee County, Florida -- Firefighters from around the Bay area paid tribute to Bradenton Fire Chief Mark Souders today. There was a large procession to the Manatee County Convention Center in his honor.

Photo Gallery: Chief Mark Souders Funeral

55-year-old Souders died Wednesday of a heart attack.

Hundreds of fire trucks joined the procession as his body was transported in a 1926 fire truck. Thousands of firefighters and the public honored the chief at a large service. One man who knew him for more than 30 years said he was always smiling, he loved to give hugs and he loved his job.

"There are stories about firemen and then there are stories about firemen like Mark Souders and Souders was one of those guys that loved his job, loved the people, did something for everyone everyday. He was close friends with Mayor Postin of Bradenton. 'Course it's been hard for a lot of people, and he'll be hard to replace," said Souder's friend Roy Whittaker.

Donations made to the Bradenton Firefighters Association will be held in trust for the Mark L. Souders Memorial Educational Fund.

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