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Thousands attend calling hours for fallen Cleveland firefighter

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Posted at 5:00 PM, Nov 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-26 10:17:35-05

WILLOUGHBY HILLS, Ohio — Friends, family and fellow firefighters from across Ohio filled the halls of Friends Church in Willoughby Hills Friday for the calling hours of fallen Cleveland firefighter, Johnny Tetrick. A man deeply rooted in faith and public service, Tetrick, 51, was killed in a hit-and-run last weekend while responding to a rollover crash on I-90.

Dozens of small American flags, flapping in the wind, guided mourners as they arrived en masse. A larger crane flag, affixed to a Cleveland Division of Fire ladder truck, greeted those that came to pay their respects.

At the invitation of his daughters, News 5 briefly spent time inside the church for Tetrick’s calling hours Friday.

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Stretching from the sanctuary to the foyer and spilling out into the parking lot, a long, winding line of people, including fellow first responders and Cleveland firefighters, waited their turn to pass by Tetrick’s closed casket, which was flanked by his turnout gear. Some cried. Some smiled. Some were lost in thought.

But everyone felt something.

Perhaps fellow firefighter Dan Zudic’s tearful sentiments on Wednesday encapsulated Tetrick best.

“I’m a better person for having worked with Johnny Tetrick,” Zudic said as he held back tears.

Tetrick spent nearly the entirety of his career at the same station, a rarity in the fire service. Affectionately known as Double Deuces, CFD Station 22 is one of the most active in the city.

“[Tetrick] would have been the same personality and the same servant whether he was getting paid or not,” said firefighter Robert Schwind.

And for Tetrick’s three daughters, Fallon, Regan and Eden, it was their second home.

“He always said if anything terrible were to happen to any of the guys at this station, he would want it to be him,” Regan Tetrick said. “He knew we would be in good hands.”

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Firefighters from around the region, including Eastlake, Willoughby Hills as well as western suburbs, also came to pay their respects and offer condolences to Tetrick’s family. Dozens of firefighters from outside Cleveland have also volunteered to temporarily provide coverage for Cleveland’s fire stations so that Tetrick’s friends and fellow Cleveland firefighters can attend his service on Saturday.

Tetrick’s friends said he would have certainly done the same for them.

“He really really loved God and I think that’s why he was such a unique person. I think that has a big influence on who he was and the way he was able to affect people,” Eden Tetrick said.

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A funeral service will be held on Saturday, November 26, 2022, at 11 a.m. (doors open at 10 a.m.) at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse at 1 Center Court in Cleveland.

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and the Gateway complex are uniquely equipped and prepared to be the site of the funeral service. The service is open to the public. The processional route to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Saturday is below:

• Rt. 91 NB - Rt. 6 WB - Euclid WB - Dille/Nottingham NB - St. Clair WB - E. 79th SB - Superior WB - E. 9th NB - Erieside WB - Al Lerner Way WB - W. 3rd SB - St. Clair WB - W. 9th SB - W. Huron SE - Ontario SB - Carnegie EB - E. 9th NB - Bolivar WB – Under Garage Parking.

General parking for attendees is available at the East Garage.

Gates of entry for the general public include the Sherwin Williams entrance and the Cliffs entrance located on the corners of Huron Rd. and Ontario St. / Huron Rd and E. 6th St., respectively.

Road closures surrounding the arena

  • Ontario/Huron Eastbound
  • Ontario/Carnegie
  • E. 9th / Carnegie
  • E. 9th / Sumner
  • E. 9th / Erie Court
  • E. 9th @ Cemetery
  • E. 9th / Bolivar - E/B Bolivar open from E. 9th 
  • E. 9th / Prospect
  • Huron / Prospect
  • E. 9th Pl / Huron
  • E. 8th / Huron
  • E. 7th / Huron
  • E. 6th / Huron
  • E. 4th / High St

Cleveland Police will be on site to direct and assist with the flow of traffic.

Those who do not plan to attend in person may view a live stream of the event via the Cleveland Division of Fire Facebook page.