Friends and colleagues remember firefighter Jeremy Bush
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Jeremy Bush was a 20-year veteran of the South Bend Fire Department. He joined the department at 21 years old and remained on the service until his death Tuesday in a motorcycle crash in Mishawaka. Wednesday his friends and colleagues were reflecting on the life of the firefighter, paramedic, Axeman and friend they all grew to adore.
"He'd (Bush) love to give you a bear hug if he could and just was always upbeat," said South Bend Fire Chief Carl Buchanon. "Just his attitude is going to be greatly missed on the department."
Buchanon knew Bush from his force assignment as a firefighter at Station 6. Buchanon said even then, his enthusiasm stood out.
"I can remember when he got on the job, and I was a captain out at Station 6," Buchanon said. "If he was ever working whether it was trade time or just working overtime out at my station, and I said we're getting ready to go and do a spray and play for the kids in the community during a hot summer day, he would be the first one jumping up and saying 'oh yeah, that's going to be fun. That's going to be great.'"
Buchanon's bond with his fellow firefighters extended beyond the walls of the fire stations. He was also a member of the South Bend Axemen, a group of motorcyclists who are also firefighters. They often get together at the Firefighter's Union Hall in South Bend, but Wednesday's gathering was more somber.
"It's been a mess," said fellow Axeman Brian Mclaughlin. "He was the best father, great husband, a friend to everybody. He smiled all the time. He was a fantastic firefighter, and he's gone, and being here today at the Firefighters' Union Hall, his smile's not here."
McLaughlin also said interactions with the Axemen were where Bush showed a more fun side, leading to them playfully nicknaming him "Woodchuck."
"He tried to do a karate kick on a punching bag, and he missed a little bit," Mclaughlin said. "(He) lost his footing and broke a table and wood, and we're like' You're Woodchuck.'"
The Axemen have made a promise that Bush will never be alone until he is laid to rest. The group escorted his body from the hospital to the funeral home where he now sits. They are now taking shifts watching over his body and will do so until his funeral.
Bush's son, Jacob, was on the motorcycle with his father when they wrecked. As of Wednesday evening he is still in the hospital in critical condition. Family friends of Bush's family have organized a GoFundMe page for donations to help with any of the financial burden the Bush family is facing as a result of the crash. The goal is to raise $50,000.
Bush was 41 years old.