MORRIS PARK, The Bronx -- Hundreds of colleagues in the FDNY gathered for the wake of 43-year-old Christopher Slutman, killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan earlier this month.
“He was second to none,” Lt. Jack Meara, FDNY Engine 46, told PIX11. “No one better than him."
He was a Marine and he was a firefighter.
Those who worked with Slutman say felt he hadn’t done enough by serving the city of New York for 15 years as a firefighter, he also wanted to serve his country overseas.
“He was a person willing to step into the breach, putting himself in harms way protecting his men in Afghanistan as well as being a firefighter,” firefighter Dan Richter of Engine 46 told PIX11 News.
Slutman was just three weeks away from coming home to his wife and three young daughters, ages 10, 8 and 4, when he was killed.
His widow attended both the private viewing and this more public tribute.
“I do better when I am busy. Evenings are hard. I’ve got to figure out healthy ways to fill the quiet,” Shannon Slutman, the new widow, told a television interviewer. When asked if she still talks to her husband, on the verge of tears, she answered, “Yes he’s always with me.”
It has been a weeklong tribute, beginning with the somber procession as the fallen Marine and firefighter’s body was returned to the Bronx.
On Tuesday, the FDNY honored Sergeant Slutman at Ladder Company 27 where his uniform and nameplate will remain for generations.
And now, many who didn’t know Christopher Slutman came to pay their respects.
“I feel bad what happened to him, trying to protect us,” Jasmine Curtis, a Morris Park resident, told PIX11 News.
The funeral will be 10 a.m. Friday, followed by burial at Arlington National Cemetery.