Firefighter community gives solemn farewell to Bergen EMT killed in line of duty

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 29 September 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Kristina Gabalski  – A Kendall fire truck sits in a bay at the Bergen Fire Station on Tuesday afternoon while funeral services were being held for Bergen volunteer firefighter and EMS Chief Barry Miller.

BERGEN – While volunteer firefighters from Orleans County kept watch at the Bergen Fire Station on Tuesday, members of the Bergen Fire Department, Bergen community and first responders from across New York State said good-bye to Barry Miller, the EMT killed in the line of duty while responding to a call on Sept. 23.

During the funeral service held at Pearce Memorial Church in North Chili, Orleans County Chief Coroner Scott Schmidt was among those who spoke about Miller’s life.

Schmidt currently serves as President of the New York State Association of County Coroners and Medical Examiners (NYSACCME). He is also a 25-year member of the Albion Fire Department.

Schmidt said he first met Miller three years ago at a coroner’s training class in Cooperstown. Miller introduced himself to Schmidt as, “my neighbor to the south,” Schmidt remembered, and then he told Schmidt, “I’m pretty excited to be here.”

A Bergen fire truck bearing the casket of Barry Miller pulls away from Pearce Memorial Church in North Chili following funeral services on Tuesday.

During that training, a computer froze up and when Schmidt could not fix the problem, Miller came forward and quietly offered assistance, “Maybe I can help,” he told Schmidt.

“He made one or two keystrokes and ‘voila’ we were back in business,” Schmidt said. “Barry was instantly commissioned as the IT Tech of NYSACCME.

“He was always a person who was giving back,” Schmidt continued and “had a zeal for life,” in whatever he was doing – whether it was woodworking, flying his power parachute or volunteering as a Bergen firefighter.

“He was generous, caring, supportive, passionate, eager and patient,” Schmidt said.

“Barry loved helping people, NYSACCME mourns with all of you, we pray with you,” Schmidt said. “We rejoice we had a time with him as part of our family. We are going to miss Barry Miller.”