Peoria firefighter Nick Riordan remembered by wife, colleagues - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Peoria firefighter Nick Riordan remembered by wife, colleagues

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PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) -- -

Firefighter Nick Riordan tragically lost his life after battling cancer for nine months. We talked to his wife and close friends today.

Family and close friends are grieving after losing one of their own all described him as selfless, hardworking, and above all, kind.

"It's tough, it's hard on all the guys, it's a big brotherhood,” said Captain Bob Lundholm of the Peoria Fire Department. “we lost one of our own."

Riordan's wife Sarah says he fought hard in his last few days.

'I told him, baby you have to let go, and you have to go home to see Jesus," said Nick’s wife, Sarah. "We had a lot of good intimate moments of just sharing words together, talking about our last twelve years together."

Riordan leaves behind three small children.

"They're definitely sad,” said Sarfah. “They wish daddy could stay and they are worried about how we will do life without Daddy."

But she maintains his memory will live on.

"We did cards for the kids up through their eighteen birthday,” said Sarah. “We did a wedding day card for them, we did recordable books, we even recorded his heartbeat on a teddy bear."

They described the firefighter as somebody who had an infectious personality, a deep faith, and always remained positive in the midst of struggle.

"If I needed a shirt on a twenty degree day, Nick's going to take his shirt off and he's going to give it to you,” said Josh Martin, Nick’s friend.

“Everything he did on the fire service was done with a smile,” said Lundholm.

"He has everything in the world going for him and he loses it,” said Martin. “And the guy never had one negative thing to say throughout the whole thing."

His wife says despite the unfairness of facing a losing battle with cancer at just 34, his faith stayed strong until the end, never turning his anger towards God.

"Was he disappointed? Yeah, was he a little heartbroken at the situation and having to face this with three young kids, especially with a daughter that he knows will probably never have those physical memories of him?,” said Sarah Riordan.

"It was always, 'I'm going to be okay buddy...don't worry about me...I'll be okay," said Martin.

"I'm happy he's at peace," said Riordan.

A tough time for his immediate family and his firefighter family.

One sign of just how close this brotherhood is: Nick continued to be paid the entire time he was sick as fellow firefighters worked his shifts for him and donated their sick time to him.

Riordan's visitation is set for 3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10 at Northwoods Community Church, 10700 N. Allen Road. Another visitation at 9 a.m. on April 11, and Riordan's funeral will be held at 10 a.m. 

The procession and burial will head to Randolph Township Cemetery, 400 N. Road in Heyworth immediately after the funeral ceremony. 

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