Tempe firefighters are grieving the loss of 19-year fire Capt. Frank Reed, who died while vacationing in Portugal.
Tempe fire officials received word from Reed’s girlfriend on Tuesday that he had gone missing while swimming. At some point, she looked up and could no longer spot Reed anywhere, said Paul Nies, a Tempe assistant fire chief.
Crews searched for him late into the night without success. His body was found on the beach Wednesday morning, Nies said.
“Frank was one of the best among us, and I think there’s just a sense of loss that we’ve lost a mentor and leader,” Nies said.
Reed was assigned to Fire Station 276 in downtown Tempe.
Nies described Reed as a well-accomplished member of the technical-rescue team with a “razor sharp sense on humor” and a love for adventure.
He said he remembers Reed telling him about a trip he had taken to Antarctica.
“He died while he was doing something he enjoyed, exploring the world,” he said. “He always had that look on his face like he was living life to the fullest.”
“He did the things that many people say ‘I’m going to,'” he added.
A post on Facebook from the Tempe Firefighters includes messages from people Reed met through work, the gym and even those who did not know him.
“If you were in his presence for ten minutes, you were his friend.” Nies added.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up by Amanda Harrington, the daughter of Frank’s girlfriend, to bring his body back home.
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