HOUSTON (KTRK) --It was an emotional day for Houston firefighters as they said goodbye to a cadet who died just weeks before graduation.
Steven Whitfield died at the HFD academy Thursday. He was remembered this morning at Miller Outdoor Theater.
Whitfield was not yet a Houston firefighter, but he was honored as one in front of his family and his cadet class.
"Steven, you did so much," his sister, Lauren Tucker, said at the service. "Want you to know that you are great. You did great things, grandpa would be so proud."
Reading from a letter she wrote to her brother, Tucker wiped away tears as she pledged to live her life as her brother did.
"I will live. I will attack life as you have, making memories to last a lifetime," she said. "So get ready because I will and am going to try to have at least the fraction of the adventitious spirit you have modeled for me."
Before entering the academy, Whitfield was a high school coach and a member of the air National Guard. His cadet classmates say they will always remember Whitfield's spirit of service and the encouragement he gave to fellow cadets.
"I want to give him a message real quick, cause I know he is watching and I know he is listening," said HFD cadet Ramiz Razzoq. "He has my word and the word of these 40 gentlemen here that we are going to finish strong at the academy and the class of 2015 will be the best class to come out of there and we will make the streets of Houston proud. That is a promise."
Whitfield was just 32 years old. He will be buried later today in a private ceremony in Beaumont.
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