David Brown was from Oakland City and a firefighter in Francisco and Princeton for 35 years.
His call to public service took him to New Orleans in 2005, following Katrina. While he was there, he was able to provide help, though he would sustain an injury that would ultimately cost him his life.
"You can ask anybody that knew him. He's just a wonderful guy. Everybody loved him," David's mom, Agnes Brown said.
Agnes says David spent decades working as a firefighter, and that he was always compelled to help others.
"You couldn't ask for a nicer guy. If he had a dollar in his pocket and he didn't have anymore and you needed it, he'd give it to you," Agnes said.
In 2005, tragedy struck the gulf coast when Hurricane Katrina made landfall. After seeing the images on the news, Brown felt it was his duty to help.
"I was kind of leery about it because it was far away, but he loved every minute of it," David wife, Stephanie Brown said
Stephanie says the highlight of David's trip was helping a New Orleans' woman find the casket containing her son's body.
"The casket was wiped away and Dave finally found it. She still to this day, sends him a Christmas card every year," Stephanie said.
While David was in New Orleans, Stephanie says he searched a flooded chemical plant, that lead to a fatal injury.
"Evidently, a chemical got in the bottom of his shoe. But they work like 12 hours a day, and the more he walked and more of that chemical went through. It ate through his shoe and caused a sore in the bottom of his foot," Stephanie said.
That sore lead to an infection that ended up costing Brown his leg. Brown was a diabetic, and just this month, complications from both the infection and the disease claimed his life.
"I've been with him for 32 years. Like I said, if he was here, he would do it all over again. No matter what. All the pain he went through, he would still do it again," Stephanie said.
David Brown's service during the Katrina relief effort was recognized in 2008, when he won the Red Cross' Firefighter Hero Award.
Even so, friends of Brown have written emails and letters to the white house, in hopes president Obama will honor him as the last Katrina victim.
Copyright 2013 WFIE. All rights reserved.
1115 Mt. Auburn Road
Public File Contact: