ELYSBURG, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) – As the sun shined upon Mother Cabrini Church, a community gathered to remember Coal Township Deputy Fire Chief Kevin “Bubba” Malukas.
“Kevin was a ray of sunshine whenever you talked to him. I don’t know if I ever saw him have a down moment at any of our meetings. He was truly a volunteer in the sense of the word,” said Craig Fetterman, Chairman of the Board of Coal Twp. Commissioners.
“He was a major part of the public safety in our area. Anything you needed help with, he was there,” said Thomas Jeffery, First Lt. of Friendship Fire Co.
Members of Malukas’ first responder family mixed-in with his personal family, all filled with grief, all feeling an incredible loss.
“When you lose a close friend like this, it’s hard because it’s another one gone that takes you away from the service,” said Jeffery.
“I think you can see the respect he has earned and was given today by all of his colleagues here,” said Fetterman.
A casket carrying the body of Chief Malukas was placed on a fire truck to take him to his final ride. Two ladder trucks along the Cameron Bridge formed a patriotic tribute to the man who was Coal Township’s Fire Chief since 1996, a man who became an EMT in 1980.
“He helped people learn about the fire department and learn about the EMT part of it and he was just special. He will surely be missed by all of us,” said Eileen Reigel of Coal Township.
Chief Malukas was taken to his final resting place: All Saints Cemetery in Elysburg. While he will no longer serve alongside his brotherhood and sisterhood of firefighters, they vow to carry on with the lessons he taught and example he set.
“He was just one fantastic, caring person,” said Reigel.
“He was a phenomenal guy,” said Jeffery.
Chief Malukas had responded to a couple of emergency calls the day before his death. Since his passing occurred within 12 hours of his previous call, Coal Township Fire Dept. considers it a line of duty death.