End of watch: Funeral held for fallen Castor firefighter

An honour guard made up of firefighters from around the province escorted the funeral processional through town. (Kevin Sabo/BLACK PRESS NEWS MEDIA)An honour guard made up of firefighters from around the province escorted the funeral processional through town. (Kevin Sabo/BLACK PRESS NEWS MEDIA)
Uniformed emergency service members lined both sides of Highway 12 outside the Castor Fire Hall to send off the funeral procession for firefighter Stephen Rayfield. (Alberta Firefighters Association Facebook Page)Uniformed emergency service members lined both sides of Highway 12 outside the Castor Fire Hall to send off the funeral procession for firefighter Stephen Rayfield. (Alberta Firefighters Association Facebook Page)
The members of Castor Volunteer Fire Rescue escort Stephen Rayfield on his final journey through Castor. The fallen firefighter’s bunker gear is arranged over the hood of the firetruck. (Kevin Sabo/BLACK PRESS NEWS MEDIA)The members of Castor Volunteer Fire Rescue escort Stephen Rayfield on his final journey through Castor. The fallen firefighter’s bunker gear is arranged over the hood of the firetruck. (Kevin Sabo/BLACK PRESS NEWS MEDIA)
The funeral processional for firefighter Stephen Rayfield was escorted through town by an Honour Guard. (Kevin Sabo/BLACK PRESS NEWS MEDIA)The funeral processional for firefighter Stephen Rayfield was escorted through town by an Honour Guard. (Kevin Sabo/BLACK PRESS NEWS MEDIA)
Uniformed members of the fire and EMS service from across the province lined both sides of the street outside the Castor Fire Hall as the funeral processional departed after the funeral service on Feb. 15, 2022. (Kevin Sabo/BLACK PRESS NEWS MEDIA)Uniformed members of the fire and EMS service from across the province lined both sides of the street outside the Castor Fire Hall as the funeral processional departed after the funeral service on Feb. 15, 2022. (Kevin Sabo/BLACK PRESS NEWS MEDIA)
An arch made of a pair of ladder trucks is a common tradition at a firefighter funeral. (Kevin Sabo/BLACK PRESS NEWS MEDIA)An arch made of a pair of ladder trucks is a common tradition at a firefighter funeral. (Kevin Sabo/BLACK PRESS NEWS MEDIA)

Several-hundred firefighters and community members were in town Tuesday, Feb. 15, to honour fallen Castor firefighter Stephen Rayfield.

Rayfield was killed in the line of duty while responding to a call on Feb. 4 when the firetruck he was driving in rolled in bad weather conditions.

A full firefighter funeral was held for Rayfield, complete with honour guard, bagpipes and the ceremonial last radio call and last bell.

The main ceremony was held in a full Castor Fire Hall, where Rayfield’s family, work colleagues and members of the uniformed emergency services congregated.

Set up as overflow, the service was also live-streamed to the Castor Community Hall, the Castor Evangelical Missionary Church, the Knox United church, and through the Parkview Funeral Chapels website.

Nearly 300 people watched the live-stream of the service, in addition to those in attendance at the three venues.

The service began at 1 p.m. and ran for around an hour, with Rayfield’s family, friends, colleagues, and firefighter brethren taking turns remembering him.

At the conclusion of the service, Rayfield’s coffin was carried out of the fire hall and placed on the back of a firetruck which was then escorted through Castor to the funeral home by the honour guard and Castor fire department.

A gathering was held at the Castor Community Hall after the processional concluded.

Fire department vehicles from as far away as Picture Butte, Alta, Lloydminister, and Kindersley, Sask, were all in attendance.

Rayfield is survived by his wife Cheryl, and three children.

To help Rayfield’s family, a GoFundMe was set up on Feb. 6 which has raised over $31,200 as of Feb. 15.

The goal for the GoFundMe was $30,000.

In addition to the GoFundMe, a trust account has been set up at the Alberta Treasury Branch in Castor and a number of individuals, including the Halkirk Fire Department and the Village of Halkirk, have donated to Cheryl directly.