Friend of Hillsboro firefighter killed by falling tree says he was 'full humanity'

Ryan Grimaldi (Courtesy: Hillsboro Fire and Rescue)

A friend of the Hillsboro firefighter that was killed by falling tree last Friday remembers him as someone who was "full of humanity."

Ryan Grimaldi, 31, was hunting in the Morrow County wilderness when he was killed by a falling tree.

Hillsboro Fire and Rescue said Grimaldi worked as a firefighter and paramedic for six years.

Dan Jackson says he knew the Grimaldi family for years, and that Ryan became like a son to him.

"We were like their second home. They would come have dinner with us," said Jackson.

Jackson says Grimaldi was a great hockey player and outdoorsman - a strong young man who always had a plan.

But last Friday afternoon as Grimaldi and a friend were setting up their hunting camp in Heppner, Grimaldi started cutting down a tree for firewood and everything went wrong.

"When he started to cut the tree down, the tree pivoted and both of them ran opposite directions, and the tree crushed Ryan," Jackson said.

Grimaldi's friend, a fellow firefighter, called for help but it was too late.

Jackson says Grimaldi loved his job and believed in his purpose.

"Eve when he was going to an emergency and there was a fatality or there was a lot of blood and gore, he looked past all of that and he was just full of humanity. He wanted to make a difference," said Jackson.

Jackson thinks Grimaldi had many more good deeds to do, but he also left plenty behind.

"He's touched so many lives while he was here and I'm proud to call him a friend and like a son," said Jackson.

Grimaldi's memorial service is Saturday at 1 p.m. at Liberty High School, and firefighters from around the country are expected to attend.

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