GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Father Dennis Morrow was remembered Thursday not only for his service to the community but as an inspiration to others.
Father Troy Nevins of Immaculate Heart of Mary in Grand Rapids remembers when, as a young man considering the priesthood, Morrow invited him along on a fire run.
“As the fire was going on, I sat and watched him do his magic of being a consoler,” Nevins recalled.
It was a late night. But the next morning, it was business as usual.
“(We) had Mass. He went to the office as if nothing happened. I was exhausted and I was a kid. I thought, how does this guy do it?” said Nevins during Morrow’s funeral.
The answer to how he did it inspired Nevins to enter the priesthood.
Morrow, son of a Grand Rapids firefighter whose upbringing inspired him to the priesthood and a life of service to the city’s police officers and firefighters, was laid to rest Thursday.
The Saints Peter and Paul priest, who served as the city’s emergency services chaplain for over 40 years, died after a long illness last weekend at the age of 72.
Thursday’s funeral was a small affair considering the impact Morrow had on the community.
Only a few family members and clergy were allowed inside Saint Andrew’s Cathedral.
Outside, masked police and fire department honor guard members sounded a 21-gun salute and rang the last alarm.
The funeral procession, led by a horse-drawn caisson paused in front of fire department headquarters on the way to St. Andrew’s Cemetery, members of Grand Rapids Fire Department Pipes and Drums played “Amazing Grace.”
And at city firehouses and police headquarters, those who couldn’t attend remembered the impact Morrow had on their lives.
“(He was) kinda like a gentle breeze. He’d just come sit down and have lunch with you or whatever,” said Grand Rapids Firefighters Local 366 President Joe Dubay. “(He) wasn’t pushy or anything, but if you needed to talk to him, he kind of knew.”
What was missing were the handshakes, hugs and other up-close and personal interactions that signify the bond between those who wear a badge
It is a bond shared by Morrow.
But Dubay says considering the COVID-19 risks, Morrow would have wanted it this way.
“We’ll do our job,” Dubay said. “And we’ll give him a good send-off with all the honors we can bestow and all the respect and love we have for him.”
Below, watch the full funeral service.
>>PDF: Funeral program