Note: Funeral arrangements are as follows: visitation will be on Friday, Nov. 11, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Clymer Funeral Home, 39 North Old Kings Road, Palm Coast. Further visitation scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12, from 10 to 11 a.m. at Parkview Church in Palm Coast, 5435 Belle Terre Parkway, Palm Coast, followed by the funeral service at 11 a.m. at Parkview.
The Palm Coast Fire Department’s Patrick Juliano recalls when Brant Gammon went on a ride-along in 2018 as he was considering a second career as a firefighter-paramedic.
He was asking a lot of good questions–so good and unusual that some of the firefighters thought maybe he was one of the candidates for deputy fire chief.
His future colleagues asked him his name early in the day. They all thought they heard him say “Brian.” They all called him Brian the rest of the day, through two meals. It was only at the end of the night when he was going home that he turned to them good-naturedly and said: “‘Hey guys, you know my name is Brant,'” Juliano recalled. “It was then we knew he was one of us, that he let us call him Brian all day.”
The department hired Brant in 2020, offering him the job after making sure that his wife Josie–a Flagler County Sheriff Dispatcher–was on the speaker phone as well. He’d been a volunteer for the previous year and a half.
Firefighter-Paramedic Brant Gammon, father of three grown children, died today of an inoperable brain tumor, less than three months after he was diagnosed. He had turned 51 on Tuesday.
“This is somebody who chose this as a second career, who wanted to find something more fulfilling to give back, and he went through it,” every grueling step, Juliano said this morning. “You feel it at the end of it.” Juliano was twice overcome with emotions as he spoke in a brief interview. “He was a good man, a good dad and a good husband–and a great barbecuer. He was an award winning barbecue champion.” In firehouses, that carries a different kind of top honors.
It was barely two weeks ago when Dave McAllister, the fire sciences EMS program manager at Daytona State College, spoke to a full house at a ceremony Juliano had choreographed at the Palm Coast Community Center: the transfer of command to the new Palm Coast fire chief, Kyle Berryhill. McAllister said there was some “unfinished business.”
“I appreciate Chief Forte letting us step in for just a moment and fix that,” McAllister said, as the ceremonial passing of leadership from Jerry Forte to Berryhill was paused.
McAllister wanted to recognize Gammon making it through the 1,230 hours of the paramedic program–with his family’s help. Gammon, who was in a wheelchair, and Josie, were invited up by the podium.
“Josie Gammon completed that program,” McAllister said only half-jokingly, making his point: “You see, it’s the families. It’s the families. Brant showed up to school, he went to all the clinicals, he passed all the tests. Josie, what were you doing?” he asked, knowing the answer: she was keeping Brant’s world together as he worked toward his goal. “We wanted to make sure we recognize you too, because we know every single family member out here sacrifices tremendously when your loved ones are out doing whatever it is they do. And I will say this to every firefighter and paramedic and EMS responder, law enforcement person here. Your families really do know what we do on shifts.” He added: “Thank you Josie for letting us have Brant for 1,230 fun-filled hours. So now we need to finish that and we need to provide the final program certificate.”
“Firefighter Gammon. Come forth and be recognized,” Forte, still the chief at that point, commanded in a soft voice. Josie was given the framed certificate, which she placed in her husband’s hands. He could not speak, but the expression on his face combined the joy and sorrow of the moment.
“That man’s got the heart of a lion, and his wife is stronger,” Forte said. “There’s not much that you can really put into words if you just watch them when they look at each other in the course of a day. And it’s been my honor to allow an old guy an opportunity to do what he’s wanted to do for his whole life. He got out of IT and he wanted to be a firefighter. And he is.”
Gammon had started paramedic school last year and graduated two days after he got diagnosed on Aug. 14. He missed his graduation because he was by then hospitalized. Until then, he’d been working, studying for his exam, finishing his clinical steps for paramedic school, running calls with his colleagues. There was the day he came in feeling unwell, when his colleagues told him he should check himself out at the hospital. He did. That’s how the tumor was detected. Inoperable, he was told.
He never got the chance to take his paramedic exam. “Had he not been sick he’d have passed it,” Juliano said. And in any case, he said–choking again–the Florida Department of Health, which licenses paramedics, sent in an honorary paramedic certification to recognize his efforts. “It got here the day after the ceremony,” Juliano said.
The Palm Coast Fire Department posted the following announcement on its Facebook page this morning:
It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that the Palm Coast Fire Department announces the passing of Firefighter-Paramedic Brant Gammon.
Firefighter-Paramedic Gammon began his career with the Palm Coast Fire Department in 2018 as a volunteer firefighter. He joined the ranks of the career staff in October 2020 as a Firefighter-EMT; he was promoted to paramedic this past October.
Prior to joining the Palm Coast Fire Department, Brant worked in the Information Technology field. As a second career, he wanted to find something more fulfilling and a way to give back to his community. He had just recently graduated from the Daytona State College Paramedic Program.
Brant is survived by his wife, Josie, a Flagler County Sheriff Dispatcher and he has three grown children: Noah and twins Grant and Grace. Grant serves in the Army.