Ascension Parish is mourning the death of a longtime first responder.
Fire Coordinator Gene Witek died last night due to complications from COVID-19.
In a touching tribute, Fire Chief James Leblanc remembered Witek as a fighter, a mentor to many and a great leader who served the community for over 50 years.
Witek was previously fire chief and president of Louisiana Fire Chief's Association.
Leblanc says all who knew him are devastated and he asks for prayers for the Witek family.
"Ascension Parish has lost one of its true heroes," said Parish President Clint Cointment. "Gene was synonymous with fire protection in Ascension Parish. When he came here, Ascension just had a loose collection of small rural volunteer fire departments. He not only helped in creating the great system that we now enjoy, he worked with and mentored virtually every firefighter in leadership positions today."
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