Phoenix firefighter, Army Ranger remembered as hero at funeral service

Jul 17, 2018, 2:47 PM | Updated: 4:52 pm

PHOENIX — Juston Doherty was remembered Tuesday as a war hero and a 15-year veteran of the Phoenix Fire Department.

At Doherty’s funeral service in Peoria, Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner described him as a highly decorated Army Ranger who was a Medal of Honor recipient with a contagious energy.

“He was proud, professional, courageous, a caring father, a loving son, a devoted fiancé and a pillar of our community,” Kalkbrenner said during the service at Christ’s Church of the Valley.

The 45-year-old was found dead in his sleeping quarters July 7 while on active military maneuvers at the Arizona Army National Guard base.

Doherty was a highly trained rescue technician said to have responded to some of the most challenging and difficult calls the fire department encounters.

He also dedicated thousands of hours to the department’s community involvement section.

During the service, Kalkbrenner told several stories displaying Doherty’s spirit.

In one, she said Doherty encountered an elderly and disabled Vietnam War veteran living in deplorable living conditions. Doherty gave nearly a month of his own time and money hauling away garbage, cleaning up and making repairs at the veteran’s home.

“He did this not for recognition, but because he possessed genuine compassion for others,” Kalkbrenner said. “This is just another example of Juston’s many silent and unsung acts of compassion. That is the kind of man Juston Doherty was — a true American hero.”

Doherty served two combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army Ranger, receiving numerous commendations and medals — including the Bronze Star Medal, which is awarded for heroic achievements and service.

Following his deployments, Doherty continued to serve as a member of the Army reserves while working as a full-time firefighter.

During the service, one more tribute was added to Doherty’s vast history of achievements.

“Juston was mere months away from being promoted to a Phoenix fire captain, a well-deserved distinction earned by our finest,” Kalkbrenner said. “I am honored and proud to announce that effective July 6, 2018, one day prior to his tragic and untimely passing, the Phoenix Fire Department was able to secure that promotion.”

Kalkbrenner added, “It is comforting and appropriate that Juston Doherty will be laid to rest as a Phoenix Fire Department captain. This man was a beloved and respected leader in the fire service, the nation’s military, and the community. He shall be laid to rest with the glory and the accommodations he so well deserved.”

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Phoenix firefighter, Army Ranger remembered as hero at funeral service