By: Sharon Aron Baron
A funeral procession was held on Wednesday for Coral Springs firefighter Paul “Pauly” Pietrafesa, who lost his two-year battle pancreatic cancer.
Paul, 48, passed away on November 23, leaving behind his wife Karen and his four children Samantha, Jacob, Anthony, and Emma. Over 20 firetrucks lined Coral Ridge Drive heading to the Heron Bay Marriott where the service was held.
“The fire department is a family, and in times of crisis like this, when something like this happens, we want to ensure we not only give a proper send-off to our member but also to support his family,” said Coral Springs Fire Department Division Chief Mike Moser.
Members of the Coral Springs Fire Department including 160 firefighters plus additional administration and staff were in attendance along with firefighters from all over the tri-county area and Orlando.
Also, at the procession was the Coral Springs honor guard joined by other neighboring jurisdictions. The Coral Springs Police paid their respects as well with their honor guard and provided traffic control for the procession. The officers, some who were off-duty, lined the streets saluting Paul out of respect.
“There was a lot of participation from a lot of police and fire agencies and obviously we’re honored to have them and it was really nice to see everyone come together and honor Paul,” said Moser.
Coral Springs and Parkland residents were never without protection because the cities of Margate, Pompano Beach and Tamarac sent several units so firefighters could honor Paul by having all of their members attend.
Inside the Heron Bay Marriott, over 400 attended the service.
Moser said that although the procession is to honor the firefighter that passed, a big part is to show the immediate family, that they are family.
“We do all of this to honor Paul and to make sure that his family understands the importance of his dedication, and that his work at the fire department doesn’t go unnoticed.”