The black band hugging the badge speaks volumes about the somber mood prevalent throughout the Anna Fire Department as Chief Tim Gothard talks about a fallen brother.

It was on Friday, Oct. 25, that the terrible news of Andrew Fassett’s death came. The 29-year-old firefighter had been with the Anna Fire Department for less than a year, but in those 10 months he had become a brother to those in the department. When news of Fassett’s hospitalization hit the department it was Anna firefighters who took shifts sitting with him and the family at Baylor.

And it was those same firefighters who took shifts standing watch over him at the funeral home.

"We weren’t leaving his side," explained a somber Gothard. "Even though he had been here just a short time, Andrew was a dedicated individual who wanted to help the community and other members of the department. He would stop what he was doing to help train some of those going to paramedic school, to help them understand. He was sharp as a tack; very bright and very talented.

"He’s going to be missed."

Fassett passed away from an abrupt illness at approximately 9 a.m. on Oct. 25 at Baylor Medical Center Garland. His death was not job-related, though an official cause of death has not been announced. Fassett had been hospitalized earlier that week.

The support for a beloved firefighter has been pouring forth. In addition to Anna, firefighters from Celina and Wylie — where Fassett had served previously — have made sure the arrangements were being met and the family was taken care of. They, too, have been by their brother’s side.

Anna’s fire chief speaks of Fassett with genuine affection, of the young man sitting in the same chair across from Gothard that this writer now occupies, shooting the breeze and talking about friends in common and life in general. "We built up quite a bond; he was just a great guy," said Gothard.

Born in Wylie, Fassett joined the Junior Explorers in his early teen years and remained a dedicated public servant throughout his too-short life. As stated previously, he had served in Wylie and Celina before joining Anna as a volunteer firefighter in January. Though he was with the department just a short time, Fassett managed to pack more than 1,100 hours of service in that period. He loved the job, and he loved the life.

Fassett was a talented artist, and the mural painted on the department’s training room wall was done by his hand. He was known to make good use of those artistic skills, designing department t-shirts in the past and even some fellow firefighters’ tattoos. They say an artist lives on through his work, but there is no doubt that with or without the mural on that wall, the Anna Fire Department will never forget the man.

Funeral services are set for 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church at 404 N. Ballard in Wylie. Visitation is set for Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the church.

A fund has been set up to help cover medical and funeral expenses for Andrew Fassett. Send donations to:

Anna Fire & Rescue, Inc.

Andrew Fassett Fund

P.O. Box 487

Anna, Texas 75409