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Fiancée shares personal items that defined firefighter

Andrea Tardio, right, shares some of Ryan Grimaldi's personal items to KATU's Katherine Kisiel. (KATU Photo)

On Friday, Andrea Tardio shared the personal things that made her fiancé who he was.

An American flag. His volunteer firefighter helmet. His electrical box.

Ryan Grimaldi, 31, died last Friday after a tree fell on him in eastern Oregon during a hunting trip. Grimaldi had been with the Hillsboro Fire Department for six years.

Tardio said Grimaldi took pride in his work, wanting his soon-to-be wife to have what she needed. He had just finished the electrical wiring in the barn, a part of their dream home they had bought in Yamhill County a little more than a year ago.

The couple, both firefighters, were engaged to be married, but that day never came.

“One of the best things I could have ever asked for was for him to be around people that he loved and doing what he loved,” Tardio said.

A few days after the accident, Grimaldi’s body came home.

“To see his procession when we brought him home, is one of the most amazing second families anyone could ever ask for,” Tardio said.

She said the days are hard being without him. She has a few things that bring her comfort.

“I went and got his wedding ring. That way I can always remember him and the love that we had for each other,” she said.

She’s grateful for all the support.

“It’s not just the Hillsboro Fire Department, it’s not just Lake Oswego Fire Department,” she said, “every single fire department is part of our family and everybody has reached out, and it really makes a difference.”

Tardio said they did have a financial plan to keep the house, but not the barn.

There is as GoFundMe page to help with those expenses.

A celebration of life service will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. inside the gym at Liberty High School. The public is welcome.

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