The funeral and burial was held Sunday for Andrew Davidson, a local young man who died in a motorcycle crash Wednesday.
Approximately 4,000 people went through the Claiborne High School auditorium Saturday evening for visitation, and the auditorium was packed Sunday morning with standing room only during the funeral, a celebration of Davidson’s life.
Several of Davidson’s comrades talked about their memories during the service and some shared stories after the service.
He was a volunteer firefighter with the Tazewell-New Tazewell Volunteer Fire Department (TNTVFD), where his father Bill is chief.
“I started hanging out with Andrew when he was about 11 years old going on 20,” said Anthony Brooks, a firefighter with the Tazewell-New Tazewell Volunteer Fire Department. “He never seemed like a kid to me because he was always so smart and grown up. Andrew never was a friend. He was my little brother; he used to have my little girl call him Uncle Andrew. I always turned to him when something was going wrong in my life and he turned to me also.”
“I’m lost without him in my life now and I’ll always love him with all my heart and he will never be forgotten,” continued Brooks. “He had ‘Going in alive’ on his helmet and I had ‘Coming out the same’ on mine. We put that on there last winter. I am lost without him; he was always my friend I turned to.”
David Middleton, who also served with Davidson as a firefighter, called Davidson “my best friend” and also shared a story after the service.
“Back a few years ago me, Andrew and another member of the fire department were following Anthony Brooks to Middlesboro in a old beat up Scout Steve had. As we started up motel hill we saw flames under the hood so at the top where the car wash is we pull over, we all jump out, I call 911. Dispatcher Bruce Myers takes the call and I tell him there is a car fire on motel hill. He said, “Do you need the fire department?” I said, well we are the fire department without a moment of hesitation. Bruce said in a odd voice, “David?” and I said yeah, it’s me. As soon as I got out Anthony said it’s out so I turn around and in that short amount of time Andrew and Anthony already had the firefighting gear on an Andrew had a fire extinguisher and had put it out. I told Bruce we had it out, he said, “OK, David be more careful next time.” Then we all got back in our cars and drove on to Middlesboro. I still don’t know where the fire extinguisher came from.”
Middleton said that though Davidson was younger than he was, that he looked up to Davidson.
“He helped me with my uniform all the time,” he said.
In addition to the fire department, Davidson was serving as a corrections officer for the Grainger County Sheriff’s Department and was training to be a reserve officer with Union County Sheriff’s Department.
Davidson was a senior at Claiborne High School.
Law enforcement, firefighters and other emergency personnel from around the region were in attendance, with numerous agencies sending vehicles to participate in the funeral procession.
Davidson, 18, of New Tazewell, was killed as the result of a crash Wednesday at 6144 State Hwy. 33 in Union County. The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) report states that Davidson, who was on a motorcycle, traveled around a curve and crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic. His motorcycle collided with a tractor-trailer head-on around 2:30 a.m., the report states.
Pallbearers were members of the Tazewell-New Tazewell Fire Department. Honorary pallbearers were officers of the Grainger and Union County Sheriff’s Department and New Tazewell Police Department.
Marisa Anders may be reached at 423-626-3222 or on Twitter @newsgirl88.