Hundreds gather to remember Kampmeyer at visitation ceremony
COLBY (WAOW) -
Hundreds of people gathered in Colby on Thursday as a community came together to remember a hometown hero. Jamison Kampmeyer died while fighting a fire in Abbotsford's historic Abby Theatre on Sunday. Kampmeyer served as a volunteer firefighter with the Colby Fire Department. He was also a Marathon County Sheriff's deputy.
The memory of Jamison Kampmeyer lingers in the hearts of those who were close to him.
"I think that was the whole theme of his life, to give back," said Andrew Kleppe, who worked with Kampmeyer. "He worked on the fire department. He worked as a law enforcement officer. He was just always giving and giving and giving."
To a man who gave so much -- a community is now giving back. People lined up long before Kampmeyer's visitation started at Colby High School waiting to pay their final respects.
"It shows you what type of person he was," said Marathon County Sheriff Randy Hoenisch. "A community is primarily protected by its fire department and its police department. He had both covered."
Kampmeyer died on Sunday fighting a fire at the Abby Theatre in Abbotsford. Part of the roof collapsed -- trapping him inside.
"It's really hard to understand life sometimes," said Kleppe. "It's hard to understand why someone so wonderful would be taken from us."
In addition to serving as a volunteer firefighter, Kampmeyer worked as a deputy for the Marathon County Sheriff's department. The sheriff hired Kampmeyer himself.
"Just like your own kids, you don't expect that person to go before you," said Hoenisch. "You think they're going to be around long after I'm gone."
Support for Kampmeyer and his family continues to grow as the community comes together to remember one of its own.
"It's really hard to understand why someone with such a beautiful personality is gone and I think that's what a lot of us struggle with," said Kleppe. "I don't think we'll know those answers 'til we die but right now it's hard to understand."