Nova Scotia volunteer firefighter, 23, dies in motorcycle crash
Brogan Connor Gunn remembered as ‘charming, easy-going, compassionate’
A volunteer firefighter from Annapolis Royal, N.S., is being remembered as a compassionate and driven young man who found a second family in the area's fire department.
Brogan Connor Gunn died Tuesday evening in a single-vehicle motorcycle accident on Highway 1 in Belleisle, N.S.
An obituary posted on the Kaulbach Family Funeral Home said the 23-year-old man loved life, his community, his family, and "was proud of it all."
"Most of all, he loved making people laugh, and he did that pretty steadily from day one," the obituary said.
"Brogan's impact in the community was immeasurable, as he befriended and valued all generations easily."
Gunn had military aspirations
Gunn leaves behind his mother, Wendy Abramson, his father, Michael Gunn, his two brothers, Dorian Gunn and Zach Cromwell, as well as many other family members.
Abramson said from a very early age, Gunn and older brother Dorian had dreams of joining the military.
Dorian Gunn is now an infantry officer in Alberta, but his late brother was never able to join the military because he had Crohn's disease.
"He used to say to me quite regularly that he was living through Dorian.… He would say, 'Dori's living my dream, and that's OK, I can live it through him,'" said Abramson in a phone interview Friday from her home in Annapolis Royal.
Abramson said her son's desire to give back eventually led him to the Annapolis Royal Volunteer Fire Department, which he considered his second family.
"He looked for a way to serve his community…. He wanted to help people and have some higher purpose maybe," said Dorian Gunn, describing his brother as his best friend.
"My little brother was one of the most genuine people out there. He worked hard and earned everything he had."
The obituary described the young man as "resilient, diligent, smart, helpful, mischievous, bighearted, rambunctious, fun-loving, charming, easy-going, compassionate."
'Pillar of the community'
Annapolis Royal Volunteer Fire Department Chief Andrew Cranton said Gunn was a "pillar of the community, a pillar of the fire hall."
"He could come into a room that was quiet, maybe somebody had a bad day, and Brogan could come in and within seconds he could liven up the room and make somebody smile," said Cranton in a phone interview Friday.
"He was that kind of guy."
Cranton said Gunn joined the department nearly six years ago. He said his charisma and outgoing personality made him a perfect fit.
"We don't see each other as names, we see each other as brothers and sisters, and Brogan definitely fit the fold of a true brother," said Cranton.
"He was eager to serve, willing to learn. We couldn't be any prouder of Brogan."
Abramson said Gunn lived his entire life in the Annapolis Royal area, and so some of his colleagues in the fire department were also his classmates in preschool.
"He had a lot of history with these guys," she said, adding that the outpouring of support and condolences from the community has been overwhelming.
"He could be an absolute fool, a clown. He was so personable and a great people person. It didn't matter who the person was, what their background was, or how old they were, he could always find a way to connect with them."
Celebration of life to be held Saturday
Gunn also worked as an eel fisherman and operating heavy machinery. He enjoyed boating and hunting.
A celebration of life will be held at the Annapolis Royal Volunteer Fire Department on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Abramson said donations in Gunn's honour can be made to the local fire department, the IWK Health Centre in Halifax or to the Brogie Spirit Bursary Fund.
The bursary will be awarded to a Grade 11 or 12 student at the local high school who displays selflessness and charisma in the spirit of Gunn, as voted by their peers.
Cranton said the other volunteers at the fire department have been struggling to cope with the loss.
"He is a person that you would never forget and you would always remember because he impacted everyone differently," said Cranton.
"He's that perfect individual that will be sadly missed."