Reporter: Jessica Chapin
TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - Firefighters, family members and friends are saying their final goodbye to Sterling Lytle after he was laid to rest during a memorial service Monday.
Lytle was hit by a car June 28th, and his mother made the heart-breaking decision to pull him off life support a week later. During Monday's service, more than a thousand people gathered to celebrate his life. They told stories of his wit and charm, and his selfless dedication to the childhood dream he was living as a Nogales firefighter.
"Sterling's time here was cut short," said his cousin Judy Mott, "But I know and I feel peace that he is in a much better place continuing his journey with our loved ones that have already passed on."
During Lytle's 25 years, he impacted many people. A rookie with the Nogales Fire Department, he earned the nickname Pequeno which was a play on his last name and youth. Capt. Leo Lopez says even though he was only with them seven months, he changed their department for the better with his humor and enthusiasm.
Lopez joked about looking forward to working a shift with Lytle.
"After watering up the Alfredo sauce and serving us what he wanted to look like fettuccine," he said, "he redeemed himself when he pulled the Ace card from under his sleeve and introduced us to what we now call the famous Sterling burger."
Lytle was an only child to his mother Sara, but Monday it was clear his fellow firefighters were saying goodbye to their brother.
"We miss you a whole lot Pequeno," said Lopez, "The house will no longer be the same without you."
The Lytle family encourages anyone who wants to show support to donate to the Fire Foundation at the Bank of Tucson, or the Reward Fund at Compass Bank. Police are still looking for the person responsible for hitting Lytle. Anyone with information should call 88-CRIME.