Slatington, Pa. -

Family and friends are remembering a dedicated volunteer firefighter who bravely served for more than 60 years.

A memorial service for Jacob Merkel was held this morning in Slatington, Lehigh County.

The 87-year-old passed away last week.

Merkel's family says he was the longest active living volunteer firefighter in the country, and he was a fixture at the Friedens Fire Company in Washington Township.

The elderly man held a wide variety of positions over the years including chief and president.

Merkel was remembered as a man who would take the shirt off his back to help his fellow firefighters.

Rodney Heintzelman of the Friedens Fire Company said, "Five years ago, I had no place to live and he actually opened up his house man took me in. I started to think of him as my own grandfather."

Another fellow firefighter, Timothy Jones, said, "He's a good-hearted man. He was just a guy who would be there for you. He would do anything for anybody else. He never wanted everybody to worry about him."

Back in 2006, Merkel was recognized by the president, the governor, and other officials for at least 60 years of service as a volunteer firefighter.