Two Bryan Firefighters severely burned in the line of duty are talking on camera for the first time. Each suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns all over their bodies after a fire at the Knights of Columbus Hall near Downtown Bryan in February.
This story can be found inside a book of coins collectively worth more than you can imagine.
Lt. Chris Framsted and A.J. Jarrett with the South Brazos County Fire Department started this collection, but not for themselves.
"To own one is an honor, to give one up is a much higher honor to give your challenge coin to another firefighter,” said Framsted.
The challenge coin started in WW I. A US squadron of pilots used it as a way of identifying themselves on foreign soil.
"After 9/11, fire departments around the country and around the world started making their own challenge coins. It's a sign of dignity. It's a sign of respect,” said Framsted.
A collection was sparked by a February fire at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Bryan. Two Bryan firefighters died from their injuries.
Ricky Mantey Jr., Mitchel Moran along with Lt. Greg Pickard entered the hall to save Lt. Eric Wallace, who was in distress.
Pickard died from his injuries, as did Wallace.
Mantey and Moran suffered burns on 50% of their bodies. They are recovering in Galveston.
Meanwhile Framstead and Jarrett are busy making rounds to the post office collecting coins sent to them from all over the world.
"When we are able to deliver these to Ricky and Mitch it is just going to be one of those moments you can't describe,” said Framsted.
All 298 coins for them have been divided and carefully placed in two books
We took the trip to Galveston when it was time for the special deliveries. First stop was Ricky.
"We got about 150 coins,” said Framsted.
“Wow,” said Mantey.
“They were sent anywhere from Afghanistan to the UK , NASA,” said Framsted.
"It's amazing. Words can't describe how I feel right now with all of this. The coins...they are amazing,” said Mantey.
Delivery number two, less than mile away, where Mitch Moran has been recovering at the burn unit.
"It's an honor. I'm shocked; it's an honor to get what I am getting right now,” said Moran.
It was hard for both firefighters to talk, but their message was clear.
"It's going to be a long road ahead but it's going to be good,” said Mantey.
The coins keep coming in. The fire department hopes to make another coin delivery soon. Both firefighters Mitch Moran and Ricky Mantey still have months of recovery.