First responders remembered
By Nico Zulli
1. Jerry Chapman was born April 7, 1987 in Pampa, TX, and was a firefighter for Abbott Volunteer Fire Department.
In his West Memorial eulogy, Chapman’s parents said he was blessed with a kind spirit from childhood onward – a child who had been unique in his love for helping people from the beginning. He was a hard worker, and was ultimately able to discover his passion for service through the Abbott Volunteer Fire Department. This is what inspired him to return school to become a certified emergency medical technician. Chapman’s parents said he fulfilled his job as an angel who was a protector. Jerry is survived by his parents, grandparents, a great-grandmother, a sister and other relatives.
2. William ‘Buck’ Uptmor Jr. was born on April 11, 1968 and was the first of three children born to Billy and Beverly Uptmor. Buck was a 1986 graduate of West High School and went on to attend Hill Junior College for two years and also attended TSTI. He grew up loving the outdoors, with his love for camping, hunting, fishing, riding horses, and working cattle. Buck also loved country music and was a drummer for Billy Uptmor and the Makers Band for many years. Buck was a hard worker and owned and operated a successful fencing company, Uptmor Construction, for over 25 years. In his West Memorial eulogy, Buck was remembered as a kind and humble man with a great sense of humor and who always had a smile on face. He was remembered as a man who knew his God and lived life to the fullest. To those who knew him, he left behind a legacy of love and generosity. He surivived by his beloved wife of 13 years, Arcy Uptmor of Abbott; parents Billy and Beverly Uptmor of Tours; sons Hunter and Trevor Uptmor both of Abbott; daughter, Dusty Uptmore of Abbott; grandmother, Agnes Middleton of Tours; brother, Brian Uptmor and wife Kris, of Tours; sister, Bethany Rains and husband, Matt, of Tours; mother-in-law, Julia Silva of Pharr; several nieces, nephews, other relatives anfriends.
3. Joseph F. ‘Joey’ Pustejovsky was born Aug. 3, 1983 in Waco to Joseph Frank ‘Joe’ Sr. and Carolyn Ann Pustejovsky. He attended St. Mary’s School in West and was a 2001 graduate of West High School. He also attended McLennan Community College in Waco. Since 2009, he had served as the City Secretary for the town of West and had previously worked for the Sears and Roebuck Company and as a Personal Property Appraiser for McLennan County Appraisal District. In his West Memorial euology, his loved ones said Joey had a concern for community, and his life was modeled around his heart, which went out to everyone. He loved everyone and always had a beautiful smile on his face. Joey loved spending time with his children and family and being actively involved with the community, his church and his fire department family. Those who knew him said if Joey had a job to do, he did it to his best. He was a strong man who loved life, but was willing to sacrifice it all to save the lives of others. He is survived by his beloved wife of a ear, Kelly Pustejovsky of West; children, Parker, Beau, Kayla, and Ashley, all of West; parents joe and Carolyn Pustekovsky of West; grandmother, Teresa Compton and husband, Marcus of Crawford; brother, Bradley Pustejovsky and wife, Dolores, of West; in-laws, Joe and Brenda Sebesta of Waco and a brother-in-law, David Sebesta of Ft. Worth; and many aunts, uncles, other relatives and friends.
4. Kenneth “Luckey” Harris was born Nov. 21, 1960 in Killeen, Texas to Kenneth Luckey, Sr. and Scottie Lou Harris. In 1979, he graduated from Crawford High School and went on to attend McLennan Community College until accepted into the Dallas Fire Academy. After graduating from the Academy in 1982, Luckey served as a firefighter with the Dallas Fire Department for over 31 years, attaining the rank of Captain. He also owned Harris Home Inspections and Construction with his family. In his West Memorial eulogy, Luckey’s son, Jud Harris, said he was an awesome dad and human being – a strong and caring good family man. Jud said he always put other people before himself. He is survived by his beloved wife of 28 years, Holly Harris of West; three sons, Jud Harris of Grapevine, and Jarrod Harris and Heath Harris and wife Annita of Crawford; sisters, Anne Harris of Quinlan and Carmen Burkhart and husband, Brian of Hutto, Texas; three nieces, Abbey Hunt and husband, Jeff, Bethany Grubb and fiance, Jay Baker, and Andrea Burkhart; nephew Perry Burkhart and great nephew Hayden Hunt.
5. Cody Dragoo was born Oct. 15, 1962 in Billings, Montana to Christopher Clyde and Mildred Dragoo. Cody graduated from Montana State and was employed with the West Chemical and Fertilizer Plant for many years. He was a member of the West Volunteer Fire Department where he was was not only a dedicated firefighter, but also dedicated a lot of his time to other activities in the fire department. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, cooking, watching NASCAR and being with family and friends. In his West Memorial euology, he was remembered by loved ones as the type of guy that would do anything for anyone at any time, no questions asked. He also volunteered for other organizations and events within the community. He is survived by his beloved wife, Patty Dragoo of West; sisters, Shirley McDonnell and husband, Matt, of Billings, Montana and Loretta Fisher and husband, Richard, of Fort Worth; brother-in-law, Gary Berger of West; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Carolyn and Ron Sumner of Houston, David and Janet mynar of Midlothian, Michael & Natalie Mynar of Weatherford, Susan and James Miller of West, and Cindy and Tony Kubacak of West; and numerous nieces, nephews and other extended family and friends.
6. Robert Snokhous was born on June 4, 1964 in Hillsboro to Jimmy Rudolph and Louise Marie Snokhous. He graduated from West High School in 1982 and received and attended Texas State Technical College in Waco. He was a Project Manager for Central Texas Iron Works in Waco and was on their emergency response team. Robert had also been a volunteer for the West Fire Department, where he had a passion for putting out fires. In his West Memorial eulogy, he was remembered as a true hero, not only as a fire fighter, but as a husband, a father, a brother, a son, an uncle, and as a man. As a West Volunteer fireman, Robert repeatedly demonstrated his dedication and commitment. He is survived by his beloved wife of 14 years, Alison Snokhous, son, Robert ‘Bubba’ Snokhouse Jr. of Cape Coral, Florida; daughters, Margee Snokhous of Cape Coral, Florida, and McKenzie Ryan of West; brother, Barry Snokhous and wife Sayoko of Okinawa, Japan; sister, Karen Hoelscher and husband, Keith of Ross, Texas; sister-in-law, Donna Snokhous of West; two grandchildren, Kadence and Kameron Snokhous of Cape Coral; and several nieces, nephews, great niece, great nephew, other relatives and many friends.
7. Doug Snokhous was born Jan. 1, 1963 in Hillsboro, Texas and is the brother of Robert Snokhous. He was a friend, brother, husband, father, uncle, grandfather and a hero. Grew up in West his entire life, a place where his family has loved and served for generations. He was the oldest of four children. Spent his childhood attending St. Mary’s Catholic Church in West as an alter boy, and was a boy scout. He graduated from West High School, where he played both football and baseball. He spent most of his childhood hanging out at the West Volunteer Fire Department with his dad and two uncles where service above self was instilled in him at a young age. In his West Memorial eulogy, his daughter remembered him as a man of dedication. She said nothing made him happier than to offer his assistance to help others. Doug also loved karaoke, hunting, golfing, fishing, talking with friends and cooking BBQ. Doug is remembered by his loved ones as a special kind of man, the kind of man that gives his life for others without any thought of his own. He is survived by his wife of 13 years, Donna Beseda Snokhous of West; two daughters Lauren and Laken Snokhous, of West and grandson Hogan James; stepsons Steven Beseda and wife Maggie, of Eva Beach, Hawaii, and Paul Beseda and wife Amy, of West; stepdaughter DeAnna Reaves and husband Brandon, of Azle; and three step-grandchildren. Sister, Karen Hoelscher, her husband Keith of West, brother Barry Snokhouse and wife Sayoko, of Okinawa, Japan, sister-in-law Alison Snokhous of West; along with nieces, nephews and a great-niece and nephew.
8. Kevin Sanders was a member of Bruceville-Eddy Volunteer Fire Department who worked with West EMS. He was a husband, a father, a son, a grandson, a brother, an uncle and a cousin, a nephew, a coworker, a neighbor and a friend. Kevin was also an animal lover, a mechanic and a superman fan. He was born and grew up in the Chicago area and graduated from the University of Illinois in 2001. He taught veterinary technician training at McLennan Community College in Waco. In his West Memorial eulogy, Kevin’s brother said what is and what will never be forgotten is Kevin’s joy and levity that he so freely gave to everyone that he ever met. He is remembered by his loved ones as a real-life superhero who gave everything to anyone who needed it. He is survived by his wife and son.
9. Perry Calvin was a member of the Navarro Mills and Martens Volunteer Fire Departments and was attending EMS classes in West. Perry was also a student at the Hill County Fire College. He was a self-employed farmer and loved the outdoors. He enjoyed horseback riding, rodeos, fishing and spending time with his family. In his West Memorial eulogy, a good friend of Perry’s said he believed that God instills a special quality in all of us, and two of Perry’s special qualities were his ability to make you feel welcome and his desire to always help out and always be involved wherever he could. Perry loved the Lord and he loved his sons and his wife. He is remembered by his loved ones as a man who desired to help everybody and had a passion for helping, no matter what the cost. He is survived by his wife, Rebecca Ann Calvin, two sons, his father, a brother, two sisters, grandmother, nieces, nephews and other relatives.
10. Morris Bridges Jr. was born on Feb. 28, 1972 in Dallas to Morris and Sharon Bridges. He attended schools in Dallas and graduated from Bruceville-Eddy High School in 1990. He later became a pipefitter for Action Fire Pro in Waxahachie, Texas and had been a volunteer for the West Fire Department for two years. Morris loved to ride motorcycles, go fishing, camping, and the outdoors. He was remembered in his West Memorial eulogy as someone who was always ready to work and was well-liked and respected by everybody. He loved his community and the people in his community and would’ve done anything for anybody. Morris is remembered as a hero, not only to his children but to his community. He is survived by his wife, Carmen Bridges; three children, Brent Bridges, Brittany Bridges and Jaimeson Bridges, all of West; and two sisters, Lulu Mills of Bristol, and Melinda Hager of Olean, Missouri; and several nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
11. Cyrus Reed was born Feb. 11, 1984 in Houston, Texas to Mark Andrew and Lucy-Anne Reed. He was a member of the Abbott Volunteer Fire Department, Bynum Volunteer Fire Department, West Ambulance, a former member of Elm Mott Volunteer Fire Department, affiliated with Community Volunteer Fire Department in Alief, Texas and as also an Eagle Scout. He was remembered in his West Memorial eulogy as a person who always shined an amazing light in the darkness of the lives of others. Cryus lived for today and as if tomorrow was not an option and held nothing back in his passion and fury for the life that he had. If he had a notion to do something he would dedicate all that he had, in order to never lead a life where he would look back and regret the bitter taste of apathy. He lived by a verse in the Bible, John 15:13, “Greater a love hath no man than this, than to lay down his life for a friend.” He is survived by his grandmonther, Martha Reed of Lewisburg, Penn.; parents, Mark and Lucy Reed of Houston; sister, Sarah Reed and fiance, David Hobbs of Houston; niece, Edith Cheyenne of Houston. Other survivors include six aunts, three uncles, and 11 first cousins.
12. Jimmy Matus was born Nov. 9, 1960 in Waco to Raymond Rudolf and Lillian Matus. He attended St. Mary’s School, was a 1979 graduate of West High School, and also attended McLennan Community College. Jimmy started working at his family business, Westex Welding & Fire Apparatus, at a very young age and continued to work there for the next 40 years. Jimmy loved to buy and sell equipment, attend fire shows, and especially spending time with his children and grandchildren. He also loved all his pets and farm animals and is remembered as a very generous and giving person. He is survived by his parents, Raymond and Lillian Matus of West; son, Dustin Matus and fiance, Becca Wright, of West; daughter, Jennifer Kalina and fiance, Brian Walker, of Lorena; two step-daughters, Heather Roberson and Derek Barnes, of Bosqueville and Karry Dornak and husband, Jeff, of Spring; two sisters, Kathy Matus and Cindy Matus both of West; brother Thomas Matus and wife, Ruth Ann, of Chalk Bluff; five grandchildren, Alana, Hailey, Hanna, Ava, and Aeden; and many other relatives and friends.
13. Judith Monroe was born Dec. 5, 1947 in Sinton, Texas to Earnest and Rosa Mae Wolfe. She lived most of her life in South Texas before moving to West in 2001. She enjoyed spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren. She also loved reading and solving word puzzles, as well as playing board games. She is survived by her son, Donald Riemenschneider, Jr.; daughter-in-law, Jackie Riemenschneider; two grandchildren, Jenna and Braden Riemenschneider, all of West; sister, Joy Mortenson, and husband, Richard of Pembroke, Mass.
14. Mariano C. Saldivar was born May 24, 1955 in Mexico, and later moved to California where he worked at the warehousing industry. He moved to West, Texas after retiring to be near his family. Mariano lived in the apartment complex that was destroyed by the blast. He is survived by his wife, Sandra; three sons, Saul, Mario, and Adan; a daughter, Mariana; three mothers, Alfonso, Miguel, and Gabriel; and nine sisters, Martha, Esther, Alicia, Eva, Estrelia, Graciela, Hila, Belen, and Maria Elena.