Top News

Hundreds celebrate life of Annapolis Royal firefighter Brogan Gunn


ANNAPOLIS ROYAL, N.S. —

Brogan Gunn’s Celebration of Life was, most certainly, black-tie optional.

In fact, his mother said it was Hawaiian shirts flying off the shelves at local clothing outlets leading off up to his special send-off at the fire hall in Annapolis Royal June 1.

Gunn’s mom, Wendy Abramson, told those in attendance – hundreds of “Brogie” admirers – that her youngest son was going through a phase where Hawaiian shirts were his thing.

He has two more coming in the mail in a matter of days, she said.

“I really feel like I’ve been cheated out of a lot – going to his wedding, holding his babies,” she said, in between sharing comedic anecdotes about her baby boy’s witty ways.

“I know he would have been a wonderful dad because he loved – loved – kids.”

Uniformed firefighters from multiple departments throughout Nova Scotia attended the service for Gunn, who served with the Annapolis Royal Volunteer Fire Department for more than five years.

Brogan Gunn (CONTRIBUTED)
Brogan Gunn (CONTRIBUTED)

Abramson addressed a packed-to-capacity crowd, with guests seated and standing to be a part of the occasion. The bay for fire trucks and firefighting gear was cleared to create an additional seating area and, even with that, several attendees were still standing outside, looking in through open doors.

Gunn died as a result of a single-vehicle motorcycle crash along Highway 1 in Belleisle May 28. His firefighting gear was on display at the front of the room for his Celebration of Life, close to the podium where family and friends pushed through the pain to say a few words for Brogie.

“Burying one of my boys was obviously not something that was ever on a list of mine,” said Abramson.

She described her youngest as cheeky and rambunctious in childhood, and a respectful, fun-loving man with an affinity for contributing to his community in the latter of his 23 years.

“I know that Brogan is going to leave an enormous void in a lot of lives,” she said, sincerely thanking everyone for the overwhelming outpouring of kindness and support the family has received following their tragic loss.

His father, Michael Gunn, reflected on how excelling as a sea cadet and living with Crohn’s disease shaped his quick-with-the-wisecracks son into a fast learner, hard worker and resilient human.

He dreamed of going in the military, and aced the aptitude tests, but could not get the medical clearance due to Crohn’s diagnosis.

“He just chose not to be knocked down,” the proud father proclaimed, noting that his son found strength in his brothers, Dorian and Zach.

Gunn worked in hardware, carpentry, eel fishing and excavation. He was known for jumping at the opportunity to lend a hand and taking pride in his work with the fire department.

“I thank Annapolis Royal fire services for the comradery, direction and guidance that they gave Brogan that strengthened his pride in community, and his sense of protection for people,” his father said.

Fellow firefighter Matt Smith noted that Gunn had a way of instantly connecting with people of any age.

“My first impression of him was he was slightly annoying, with a questionable sense of humour,” he said to laughs.

“However, after a few years and I got a chance to know Brogan a lot better, I quickly realized that my first impression was, in fact, spot on – and I think that’s why we became friends.”

Evoking laughter to add relief, even if it’s fleeting, at a trying time seemed to be as fitting of a tribute to Gunn as any, Smith said.

But there was nothing tongue-in-cheek about his final remarks to the grieving family.

“You graciously thanked the men and women of this department for allowing Brogan to be a part of our family but, I can tell you - from the entire department - the pleasure was all ours. We are all better people for having known him.”

Proof of that, Smith added, could be found in surveying the crowd.

“It often takes a lot of people to fill a room,” he said.

“But it only took one Brogan.”

RELATED:

Community mourning loss of Annapolis Royal firefighter killed in motorcycle crash

Recent Stories