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Hundreds pay tribute to local firefighter

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Photos, award plaques, certificates of service and other tribute items on the back of a fire truck inside Roswell’s Central Fire Station on South Richardson Avenue recognize the decades of service Christopher Patrick Mann gave to Roswell and Chaves County. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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A large crowd gathered Wednesday at Roswell’s Central Fire Station for a reception honoring an “ultimate hero,” a city and Chaves County firefighter who passed on a week ago after a “valiant battle” with an illness.

Lori Mann, the widow of Christopher Mann, and his brother, Eric Mann, EMS division chief for the Roswell Fire Department, at the Wednesday reception honoring the retired battalion chief who passed away last week. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Christopher Patrick Mann, a retired Roswell Fire Department battalion chief and a former Chaves County volunteer firefighter, was 46 when he died Aug. 8.

He had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Mann was “the ultimate hero. He wanted to be known as a firefighter, a paramedic and someone who saved lives,” said Danny Sons, the senior pastor of the Midway Family Church, who delivered one of the speeches at the memorial service held at Grace Community Church.

That service was followed by the reception at Fire Station No. 1 on South Richardson Avenue where hundreds of family members, friends and fellow first-responders greeted the Mann family and shared remembrances.

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Other speakers at the Grace Community Church service who recalled Mann’s many years of service to the community and his family were his wife, Lori, and his brother, Eric Mann, division chief of Emergency Medical Services for Roswell Fire Department, and some of three children. Mann is also survived by two sisters and nine nieces and nephews.

Mann, who was born in Roswell on Oct. 12, 1971 and was a recognized Goddard High School football player, retired from the Roswell Fire Department in October 2014 after more than 19 years of service. During his career, he received several awards, including Rookie of the Year, Paramedic of the Year and the Lifesaving Award.

He was also known for his work with the search and rescue group New Mexico Task Force 1 and for being a member of a local Combat Challenge Team that placed nationally. The Combat Challenge Teams allow groups of firefighters to compete globally.