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Loss etched into new West Webster memorial

Webster, N.Y. - The West Webster fire department's Fallen Firefighters memorial that will be unveiled Sunday will bear the names of 4 firefighters.

Two of them are Tomasz Kaczowka and Michael Chiapperini, the firefighters killed in the Christmas Eve ambush.

The other two names are less familiar: David Clapp and William Bostian.

David Clapp was the first West Webster firefighter to die in the line of duty.

The 24 year old was responding to a call on a rainy fall day in 1986 when his car hydroplaned and crashed.

His sister, Barb Sobtzick, who was also a volunteer for West Webster at the time, responded to the scene.

"We had to have him pulled out of the truck and they were doing CPR on him on the way to the hospital," Sobtzick recalled.

Clapp later died.

His sister remembers him as the consummate volunteer, always there to help.

"I still think about it," Sobtzick said. "I wear (a special bracelet) every day along with a black band that my son also wears."

Sobtzick's son, Ben, 18, says his decision to join West Webster's Explorer Program was in large part due to his uncle's example.

"He was so involved and helped out so much and paid the ultimate sacrifice, I just want to do my turn in helping out and volunteering," Ben Sobztick said.

Pam Bostian's dad, William, was cut from the same cloth.

"He had a passion for volunteering and the fire department, you know, just a big, generous heart," Bostian said.

One summer day in August of 2005, while doing what he loved, Bostian's big, generous heart gave out.

"It wasn't until after he passed away that my brothers and I and the department and his friends realized all that he did," Bostian said.

Bill Bostian had joined West Webster in 1977 and rose through the ranks.

His family remembers him for all he did in and out of the department.

"What's amazing is, I would call him up and ask for favors and he'd be there like that," Bostian said.

Sunday, the department and everyone connected to it will recognize their loss along with the tragedy of last Christmas Eve.

 
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