News of 18-year-old volunteer firefighter Dustin Welch’s death hit the Harmony Volunteer Fire Department like a ton of bricks.
Welch, who had been a junior member of the department for more than a year and recently joined as a full member, died Tuesday when he lost control of his all-terrain vehicle and crashed on private ranch land five miles south of Jourdanton.
“I was extremely shocked. I just saw him the night before. I talked to him, shook his hand, everything. And once I heard the news, it just killed me inside,” said Harmony Chief Rodney Schlather.
In Welch’s memory, the department is planning a procession for his funeral on Saturday, with Welch’s casket riding atop one of the fire engines.
Lieutenant Rusty Cottrell said Welch talked frequently of his burgeoning career as a firefighter, speaking of plans to complete EMT certification and enter the Fire Academy.
“He was actually a really great firefighter. You ask him to do something, he would do it right at the drop of a hat,” said Cottrell.
Funeral services for Welch are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday morning at Mission Funeral Park on SW Military Drive in San Antonio.