Jeff Stroble saved numerous lives in the years he worked at the Roswell Fire Department.

It’s what he signed up to do, and he took it to heart. The thing that took his life was a senseless tragedy that will forever leave his loved-ones grieving. But all who knew him will remember the level-headed, big-hearted man who lived to serve. Truly he was a hero.

Jeff Stroble was born July 31, 1972. He died July 21, 2019 at age 46.

Jeff caught the brunt of the firework explosion that injured twelve of Roswell’s firefighters. His injuries were too much to sustain. After weeks of expert care, with his family by his side the entire time, he died at University Medical Center in Lubbock.

Born to Charles and Annie Stroble in Roswell, Jeff graduated from Goddard high school. He had been a firefighter for 17 years. Jeff was a Fire Apparatus Operator. The common term for his work is, “pumper.” His responsibility was to keep the water flowing as fires were brought under control and extinguished. No matter what was going on around him, he had to keep a cool head, focus on the quantity and flow of water and not let any of the firefighters lose pressure as they worked. He had to anticipate problems and keep them from happening while buildings burned all around him, and ambulances screamed up with other first-responders.

Stacie Nason and Justin Powell, of ENMU-R worked with Jeff, and held him in high regard.

“We’ve known Jeff the entire time he worked for the Roswell Fire Department,” Stacie said, “so seventeen, eighteen years. We first met him when he came to EMT school. We got to know him better from running calls in the county with him. He was always kind and had a good sense of humor. He was patient with students and with everybody. He was never out for just himself. He was respected across the board. Higher-ups, co-workers and students all respected him.”

“I work with a lot of the guys he worked with,” Justin said. “I never saw him when he wasn’t smiling. He would do whatever he was asked, no matter what it was.”

Jeff was respected by people from all over the Pecos Valley. Comments on social media about him talked about his work ethic, his willingness to do whatever needed to be done, and his patience and compassion. His wife shared posts about his experiences in the hospital toward the end, and the threads filled with prayers and words of love and support were long and heart-felt.

It was clear that Jeff made the most of life. He loved being outdoors. He enjoyed sports, music, the Dallas Cowboys, and movies. He loved Independence Day more than any other holiday. Everyone knew he adored his wife and three children.

More than 500 people attended his funeral at the Roswell Convention Center, on Friday July 26. His body has been interred at South Park Cemetery.

Memorial originally published in Focus on Roswell 2019: Summer Edition.