Detroit firefighter dies from cancer at 39, department rallies around family

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Dedicated, determined, compassionate and loyal - not just to his family but his city.

"He's always going to be here in our heart," said Sgt. Darryl Braxton, Engine 44.  "When that bell went off he was always there; he was someone you could count on."

Keione Boone always flashed a big smile through everything, even as the 15-year veteran of Engine 44 was in the battle of his life. 

"If he was right here, he would be smiling automatically," Braxton said.

Just three months ago his comrades say Boone felt a pain in his chest. The father of two learned he had cancer in his lungs with the aggressive disease spreading to his throat, and brain.

"It just spread like really fast, he deteriorated really fast and even then he didn't want us to know what he was going through," Braxton said.

The young firefighter died Nov. 18 after spending his final days with his wife by his side. 

"She was there telling us to keep our heads up," Braxton said. "We were supposed to be there helping her and she was helping us actually."

His brave brothers can recall the moments Boone was at his strongest. 

"It was nothing for him to jump on this ladder truck and do maybe 50 pull-ups at the drop of a hat.," Braxton said.

"He was always one that you could laugh with," said Capt. James Davis, Engine 44.

"He couldn't cook, I will say that," quipped Braxton.

Also helping him cook and keeping that bright smile on his face, his loving wife, Valencia and two children Kam and Ky just 9 and 12 years old, came to visit Boone frequently. 

His wife and children were the loves of Boone's life.

"The day he passed, that morning he gave his kids their Christmas gifts," said Sr. Chief Darrell Freeman, Detroit Fire Department. "That's the kind of guy he was. He was always thinking about his family."

Now, as Boone's Detroit family plans to attend his funeral and say goodbye Saturday, this year Engine 44 is planning to adopt the Boone family for Christmas.

"Whatever they need, we'll be there for them, to give it to them. No matter what," Freeman said.

If you would like to help Boone's family, CLICK HERE for the GoFundMe page.

Funeral arrangements:

Visitation is Friday, Nov. 24 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at James H. Cole Home for Funerals, 2624 W. Grand Blvd Detroit, 48208.

Service is Saturday, Nov. 25 at 10 a.m. at Second Ebenezer Church, 14601 Dequindre Road, Detroit 48212.

Interment will be immediately following the service at Elmwood Cemetery, 1200 Elmwood Street, Detroit 48207.