Two Bryan Firefighters Make Long-Awaited Trip Back Home

By: Michael Oder Email
By: Michael Oder Email
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GALVESTON, TX For Mitch Moran, Friday was a big day.

"It's been a long, hard road. Everyday just working on strength and everything just trying to get back to get back home," said Moran.

He and fellow firefighter Ricky Mantey recovered in a Galveston burn unit. They were both badly burned while fighting a fire at the Knights of Columbus Hall on February 15th.

Their lives and families transplanted in an instant. Thanks to Galveston Fire Department, their stay on the coast felt just like home.

"We were with them 24/7 for the first 45 days," explained Chief Jeff Smith. He retired just a week ago, but came back to see his two adopted firefighters off.

"Anything they needed we made sure they had. It's just too hard for Bryan to be in Galveston, with the distance. We wanted to make sure to do everything possible for our brother firefighters," he continued.

15 weeks, to the day, after arriving, on the 15th of February they were back in Engine 5. Ricky Mantey knows Number 5 well.

"This is the engine that I drove that the night of the accident and Mitch here is the firefighter that was on the same engine," said Mantey.

Along the way, fire departments lined overpasses.

"It is an honor and a blessing to be sitting right here, right now," said Mantey.

As Engine 5 crosses the Bryan City limit, in the cab of the truck you heard from the back seat, "Inside Bryan. We made it."

"For us to be coming home together, this way, means more than you can every imagine," said Mantey.

It means a lot to the city of Bryan, as well.

Mantey and Moran have a lot more recovery ahead of them. Most of it they will do in Bryan.

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