A Bucks County fire company is mourning the loss of a longtime volunteer that leaves behind an impressive legacy.
John Kandel started volunteering at the Richlandtown Fire Company when he was 20. At age 89, he was still volunteering with the organization by participating in fundraising efforts and responding to calls with fire police.
The 89-year-old, after 69 years of service, died at his home last week. Just the week prior, he'd been out on a call with the team.
"It's tough," said Floyd Bless, fighting back tears. "It hurts. But we'll get through it."
Bless met Kandel when he joined the department in 1969.
Over the years, Kandel served many roles. He was a lieutenant, captain, assistant chief, and chief. He also served as secretary of the relief association. He transitioned into a role with fire police in the early 2000s.
"Sometimes he'd even come out 2:30 in the morning, you'd be like, 'Johnny are you kidding,' he'd be like 'yeah my pager went off,'" said Darlene Hinkle, a volunteer with the group for 40 years.
"Oh, he was special, you better believe it," Bless said.
Outside of the fire company, Kandel was a barber and tax collector.
"He was a true Richlandtown man," Hinkle said.
The department is planning to have a procession at Kandel's funeral service on Saturday.