TYLER, Texas (KLTV) – An East Texas first responder who died on duty was laid to rest on Monday. Funeral services were held in Tyler for David Eads, 42, of Frankston. The UT Health East Texas paramedic was killed in a wreck while driving an ambulance in Hunt County on Nov. 17.
As family and friends gathered to say goodbye, the career paramedic was also honored with an American flag that had traveled millions of miles.
“Coming to Tyler, Texas, to honor David, his wife, and his family was an incredible honor for us,” said Chris Heisler, president and founder of The Honor Network.
In Heisler’s hand was a heavy-duty case that carries the U.S. Honor Flag, a flag the briefly flew over the rubble at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The flag was later given to Heisler by the Texas House of Representatives as a thank you for leading the largest convoy of first responders in U.S. history to Ground Zero.
“It invokes a spirit of patriotism to remind them of why this is a flag that represents all the goodness and then all the great characteristics that make America such a great place to be,” he said.
On Monday, Heisler and the flag traveled to Tyler to pay tribute to fallen UT Health East Texas paramedic David Eads. The flag arrived at DFW airport on Monday morning and was then brought to the funeral home.
“Each time the flag is touched, we use brand new custom gloves,” Heisler said. “And so today at the end of David’s service, those gloves were surrendered to Vicki his wife and her children. So they all got a set of gloves today.”
And as the flag now travels from Tyler to Arkansas to honor another fallen first responder, it’s Heisler’s hope that the flag will have left something behind in East Texas.
“Regardless of your politics, and regardless of what color you are, together we’re Americans, and we stand together and we salute the same flag,” he said. “We do the pledge of allegiance to the same flag. We breathe the same air. It’s American air. And this flag represents all those great things that makes our country such a great vibrant place to be.”
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Honor Flag has traveled more than a million miles honoring fallen first responders and U.S. service men and women. The flag has even been to space.
Written by Blake Holland