St. Louis fire fighter dies from COVID-19; BackStoppers to assist family

HONORING ONE OF THEIR OWN: Fire fighters from Clayton, Mo., stand on their truck, saluting a hearse containing the body of St. Louis fire fighter Rodney Heard as it passes, leaving St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond Heights, Mo., on Thursday, June 17, 2021. Heard, 56, died on June 15, 2021, as a result of contracting COVID-19. – Bill Greenblatt/UPI photo

The St. Louis City Fire Department is mourning the loss of fire fighter Rodney Heard, who died last week after a courageous battle with COVID-19.

“It is with deep sorrow and profound sadness that we announce the line of duty death of St. Louis fire fighter, Rodney L. Heard,” a tweet from the department’s official account reads. “After a courageous battle with COVID-19, fire fighter Heard succumbed to the illness.”

Heard was infected with coronavirus while working and died from complications caused by the virus on June 15. He was 56 years old and had worked with the fire department for more than 25 years.

“During this difficult time, we ask that you keep the family and friends of fire fighter Heard uplifted in prayer and thoughts,” the department said.

Heard joined the St. Louis Fire Department in 1999, according to a release from the department.

Gregg Favre, executive director of the St. Louis Regional Response System, tweeted that he and Heard worked together for years and that Heard was “deeply religious, a family-oriented man and a rock-solid partner.”

St. Louis fire fighters held a procession June 17 as Heard’s body was taken from St. Mary’s Hospital to Granberry Mortuary on Jennings Station Road.

A total of 528 St. Louis City residents have died from complications caused by the coronavirus so far.

BackStoppers will be helping Heard’s family.

“This pandemic has placed a heavy burden on us all – especially our first responders who are serving on the front lines every day,” said Chief Ron Battelle, executive director of The BackStoppers. “Fire fighter Heard’s family and all first responders continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.”

A funeral service is taking place today, June 28 at 11 a.m. at New Spring Church St. Louis, 10229 Lewis and Clark, St. Louis, MO 63136.

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