Last alarm sounds for Toledo firefighter Sterling ‘Butch’ Rahe

A funeral procession with dozens of fire and EMS vehicles drove by Toledo Fire Station 17 before ending at Springfield Twp. Fire Station 51.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The new year began on a sad note for members of the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department and Springfield Twp. Fire Department after longtime firefighter, paramedic, instructor, and public information officer Sterling “Butch” Rahe passed away unexpectedly.

On Saturday, family, friends, colleagues, and the community came together to say goodbye at a public memorial service at the University of Toledo’s Savage Arena.

The emotional ceremony began with the posting of the colors, the singing of the National Anthem, and the invocation by Toledo Fire and Rescue Chaplain Gary Boose, before a series of speakers spoke on Rahe’s life and long service to the community.

Watch the full memorial service here.

“Words cannot describe the amount of grief and loss that we are all feeling right now,” said Fire Chief Allison Armstrong. “He was a kind-hearted, funny, dedicated and selfless man that you just wanted to be around.”

Armstrong went on to talk about the hole that will be left by Rahe’s passing.

RELATED: Toledo firefighter, paramedic Sterling ‘Butch’ Rahe has died

“His passing leaves a void in our department and our hearts that will never be filled. I am grateful to have known him and to have worked alongside him. He made me a better person and I will always remember that,” said Armstrong.

Rahe spent three decades helping to save lives and inform the public, beginning his career in Springfield Township in 1994.

Springfield Towship Fire Department Chief Barry Cousino spoke about Rahe’s commitment to the Springfield Township Fire Department, where he continued to serve, even after his appointment to the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department.

“He served as our friend, brother, mentor, teacher and public servant, which he was most proud of other than his love and devotion for his family,” said Cousino.

At the end of the ceremony, Sterling Rahe was honored with his last alarm as Rahe’s service record was recited and a bell was tapped three times.

“One of the signals of the bell in the fire service was the sounding of three taps on the bell to indicate that the job was completed” said Toledo Fire Dept. historian Tim Boaden, with a quavering voice. “So, it is appropriate that we sound the bell three times in honor and memory of Butch for a job completed and well done.”

RELATED: ‘He just loved Toledo’: Local fire chiefs reflect on the loss of Sterling ‘Butch’ Rahe, one of their own

After the ceremony, a funeral procession including dozens of fire/EMS and emergency vehicles left Savage Arena and went by Toledo Fire Station 17.

The procession ended at Springfield Township Station 51 where Rahe began his career.

Community members and local firefighters lined up to honor Rahe and a large American flag was hung outside of the station on the side of the road.

Rahe will be laid to rest at the 9/11 First Responders Memorial.