DEARBORN, Mich. (FOX 2) - "History will show Congressman John Dingell will stand as a giant among 'the greatest generation,'" said Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad.
He was a giant that never forgot his metro Detroit roots. He died in his Dearborn home while talking to his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell on Thursday.
She posted on Facebook: "I want to thank Dearborn firefighters and chief Joe Murray and Chief Haddad. I didn't know what to do, and they were all there, trying to help me and him and handle what happened. All of the guys are kind, good, loving men who helped John and me through a very very very difficult time. And they didn't leave me. They loved John and he loved them. The Dearborn men and women in blue were part of our family."
Chief Ronald Haddad was glad to be there for a friend. He remembers the last good talk they had, a few weeks ago.
"He was lucid, highly intellectual, he was extremely humorous and I can tell you what he did not for one second feel sorry for myself, he met death as he did with life," Haddad said. "Courageously, looking straight ahead."
Fire Dept. Chief Joe Murray is grieving his loss Monday and remembering that true giants, true servants, stop by and help even when the cameras aren't rolling. A sign of character.
"He still always made time to stop at the fire station, have lunch with us, and didn't look for attention, didn't have the media there, he just came to make us feel appreciated and we appreciate everything he has done for us," Murray said.
Chief Haddad says a hallmark of Dingell's personality can be summed up in this tough but loving anecdote of a flight that both chief and congressman would take together. It was about the moments after getting through security at the airport:
"I wanted to help him with his shoes and he really got feisty with me," Haddad said. "I won't repeat what he said to me. He said 'I'm a stubborn old so-and-so, I'll put my own damn shoes on.' And I got real quiet sitting next to him for a few seconds and then he leaned over and said 'I love you chief.'"
"He wasn't just a congressman," said Chief Murray. "He was a friend to the Dearborn Fire Department and all her firefighters."