UPDATE: Hundreds pay tribute to Dakota City, NE volunteer firefi - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Hundreds pay tribute to Dakota City, NE volunteer firefighter Andrew Zalme

Andrew Zalme Andrew Zalme


It started with a "Walk of Honor" as firefighters from across the state of Nebraska lined the entryway of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Sioux City.

A symbol of true brotherhood as Zalme's body was carried into his memorial service.

Family, friends and fellow firefighters say it's hard to put into words what they're feeling right now.

But, Andy Zalme's life was built around action, not words.

Zalme collapsed on scene Thursday, doing what he loved, serving others as he was responding to a fire on Highway 35.

While he may be gone, he'll never be forgotten.

"It's going to be very hard next time when that pager goes off knowing that he is with us, but he's not next to me, fighting a fire, going to a rescue or helping somebody," said Dakota City Fire Chief Clint Rasmussen.

Service before self.

For 42 year-old Andrew Zalme, it's how many close to him describe the fallen volunteer firefighter from Dakota City, Nebraska.

That message deeply resonated on Tuesday, as hundreds ushered into Sioux City's Redeemer Lutheran Church to pay their their last respects.

A man so deeply revered, extra seats were needed to fit the brotherhood that is local law enforcement.

"Today is a time to mourn, you lost a loved one, and it hurts and it is right to cry, it is correct to grieve, in fact that's the only way healing can take place.

Delivering his sermon, Reverend Russell Senstad's theme of time was prevalent.

"When you think of such a young man not being with us, it just doesn't seem right," said Rev. Senstad.

But Senstad was quick to note, it's most important how you spend that time.

And Zalme made the most of every minute.

"With all the friends, the all the things that he was active in, he always had time for everybody," said Rasmussen.

Zalme was an Eagle Scout.

A seven year member of the Dakota City Fire and Rescue Department, he worked his way up to captain and served on the board of directors.

"When that alarm goes off, we know we had to jump into duty because somebody is in need of service and Andy was always that person," said Rasmussen.

Only one thing could top being a civil servant.

A family man.

"He was a great husband, a great dad, loved to hunt and fish, said Bobbie Zalme, Andy's Widow. "He was just a great guy."


Folks from Dakota City, Nebraska are dealing with the death of one of the city's volunteer firefighters.

Family, friends and fellow firefighters say they're still trying to make sense of the past few days.

They say, beginning to put into words what they're feeling is near impossible.

But, actions speak louder than words.

With hundreds of people showing up to pay tribute today, it's clear fallen volunteer firefighter Andy Zalme had a profound impact on the community.

The 42 year-old from Dakota City, Nebraska collapsed and died last Thursday night after responding to a fire call.

As Reverend Russell Senstad took to the podium, he quickly expressed that Andy was a "great guy."

Recalling his dedication to the community as a firefighter and Eagle Scout.

The theme of time was reiterated throughout Senstad's sermon.

He explained that it's often said when someone passes it was their time, but it's hard to think of a such young man not being with us at this time.

Senstad and Siouxlanders says they'll remember Zalme as a wonderful civil servant and an even better family man.

Zalme was taken in an antique Dakota City Fire truck to the Dakota City Cemetery where he will be laid to rest.

KTIV's Robert Lowe will have more from today's funeral.

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