September 12, 2005
Stephen Hornberger is described as one of the smartest and most computer savvy people there ever was. Until last Thursday, he's met every goal set to be a firefighter for the rest of his life, since joining the Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department almost two years ago.
"I don't think there was anything that he couldn't do, computer-wise, [or] gadget-wise. He just had that gift," said Chief Timothy Cersley, or the Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department.
Outside the firehouse, flags are at half-staff, and a piece of cloth drapes a door to honor Stephen Hornberger.
"Being a firefighter was his dream. He truly wanted to run here as long as he could, but his ultimate goal was to be a career firefighter somewhere," added Chief Cersley.
The dream ended for the 17-year old junior firefighter one week before his 18th birthday. Last Thursday, just minutes after calling his mom to tell her he'd be out riding his motorcycle and would meet her later, Stephen was in an accident.
"He was in love with that bike. He rode it all over the place. Him and a couple of other guys here at the station have bikes, and they would go riding," said Chief Cersley.
Like every accident, firefighters responded to give medical attention. This time, while in a familiar area of Kidd's Derry Road and Alder's Lane, this accident was different.
"That's when we realized it was Stephen. They began to work on him, and they could see his injuries were life-threatening injuries," explained Chief Cersley.
Stephen never made it home to meet his mom.
The junior firefighter was due to be promoted to a full-time firefighter following a meeting on his 18th birthday this Thursday.
"He's got all his training, and everything was ready to go. He was just waiting for the day that he turned 18," said Chief Cersley.
Also ready to go is are the brothers and sisters of the Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department Stephen leaves behind.
A memorial service for Stephen Hornberger will be this Saturday September 17th, at the Kingdom Hall in Scottsville at 4:00 p.m. Family and friends will gather at Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department following the service.
Chief Cersley says he's grateful of the support from the neighboring fire departments who've become even closer since the attacks of September 11, 2001. Several of them have asked to staff the Scottsville firehouse, so the firefighters could attend Stephen's service.