By Amanda Rogers
A baseball stadium seemed like a fitting place for Brandon Peterson’s funeral. The former Timberview High first baseman loved the Texas Rangers, baseball and hanging out with the players when his father worked at The Ballpark in Arlington as a part-time medic.
And the crowd of close to 500 people, firefighters from at least eight different cities and multiple police departments were a fitting tribute to the 31-year-old Lancaster firefighter/paramedic who grew up in the Mansfield Fire Department where his dad, Eric Peterson, served as assistant chief.
Brandon Peterson was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer Nov. 14, 2019, battled the disease bravely for more than a year before dying Dec. 29.
“It was work-related, more than likely,” said Eric Peterson, who retired from the Mansfield Fire Department in 2018 after 35 years of service. “He was a non-smoker, non-drinker. All the biopsies showed no mutations and no genetic cause.”
Brandon Peterson’s funeral was held Saturday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, just steps away from Globe Life Park (the former Ballpark in Arlington) where he spent time with his family and friends.
His co-workers, pastor and friends remembered him as a prankster who had a “goofy grin and big ears.”
“Brandon brought life to the station, he made you look forward to going to work,” said Lancaster Battalion Chief Terry Hunter as he wiped away tears. “When the tones sounded, though, he was all business.”
Mansfield Church of Christ’s Matt Martin shared a story of Brandon hiding in the back of his SUV and waiting until they had driven several blocks before casually saying “S’up, Matt?”
Brandon Peterson grew up in Mansfield, graduated from Timberview High in 2007 and then got his EMT and fire certifications. He started work with the Lancaster Fire Department in 2010, and became a paramedic in 2012. He was later promoted to engineer.
“He knew what he wanted to do,” Eric Peterson said. “He grew up around it. He did some ride-outs with Mansfield and he fell right into fire service. He loved the job and the people he worked with.”
Brandon Peterson’s other great loves were his wife, Allison, who he married July 30, 2011, and daughters Avery, 5, and Kayla, almost 2. He also loved Walt Disney World, and through Michael Memories was awarded a family trip there in late December. The Peterson clan, including Brandon, Allison, their children, parents Eric and Leann Peterson, and his sisters Courtney and Megan, spent six days enjoying the park before getting ready to head home Dec. 24.
At the Orlando airport, Brandon had a medical emergency and had to be hospitalized. Eric Peterson stayed behind with his son while the rest of the family came home.
“I knew he wasn’t doing good,” he said. “Leann and Allison flew back on Christmas Day.”
Brandon was able to see his daughters just hours before he died. The family was still making plans to have Brandon transferred to a Dallas hospital when he passed away Dec. 29.
“The day before he died he told us that we were the best parents,” Eric Peterson said. “He told me ‘Dad, don’t be sad. It’ll be OK. That was the last conversation I had with him before things took a turn.”
The City of Lancaster honored Brandon Peterson with a proclamation, as did the State of Texas. The International Association of Firefighters and Texas State Association of Firefighters awarded him the Line of Duty Death Medal.
Eric Peterson expressed thanks to the Lancaster Fire Department, Mansfield Fire Department, Orlando Fire Department and hospital for their assistance, plus their family and friends. He said he wanted his son remembered as a respectful, proud Christian and firefighter/paramedic.
“He loved life, he loved his family and his kids,” Peterson said.
Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.