Chandler Firefighter Nick Pribble Remembered as a Hero of Great Character and Strength
Last week, I came across an obituary on a friend's Facebook page. I didn't know the man who had passed, but I was drawn into his story and, more importantly, how he chose to live his life with humor, kindness, honor and love.
In the past couple of weeks there has been a lot of talk about heroes. With the tragic death of sports icon, Kobe Bryant, social media exploded with tributes to the legend. There were some who pointed out that local heroes are not memorialized and posted about as much as celebrities. I agree, we don't celebrate the unsung, low key, local heroes doing amazing things in our community. So, when I read Nicholas Pribble's obituary, I thought he was a good place to start.
I wish I would have known Nick and been able to spread the word of what a wonderful man he was before he passed away. Unfortunately, we never met, but I know I would have loved everything about him.
Let me introduce you to Nicholas Ray Pribble, 38, of Chandler, Indiana. Sadly, he passed away on Saturday, January 25, 2020.
Nicholas was born on October 13, 1981 in Evansville, Indiana. Nick was a 2000 graduate of Castle High School. Nick was known by all for his amazing heart, contagious smirky smile, and hugs. He was always the first to arrive when called for help and the last to leave. Nick never met a stranger, and all were drawn to his infectious personality. He was a man of few words, but always had a lot to say especially when he was telling one of his famous stories. Nick cherished each of his friendships, but it was the love and dedication of his family that he was truly known for.
On August 27, 2011, Nick married the love of his life, Melissa. Together they formed the modern day “Brady Bunch” and became a family of six. Nick and Melissa were known for their fierce love. They leaned on each other, had fun together, loved each other like it was their last day together, and were truly each other’s soul mate. It is a love they both will carry forever.
Nick was a devoted father to his four children. He had a special bond with each of them. James and Nick were often found fishing and hunting together. Arizona and Nick had restored “Pop’s” Bronco II for Arizona’s first car together with assist of Spencer, and he instilled a love of old country music in her. Nick was found cheering Kaleb on every Friday night at football games and other sporting event. Angelina became Nick’s “sidekick” they spent their time together on weekends just driving around, talking, and eating ice cream. Even with four children, he took time with each of them to teach them life lessons, how to fix what is broken, and show how loved beyond measure they each were.
Nick had many interests from spending weekends smoking meat, jeeping, surrounding himself with family and friends, and being a mechanic. Nick was a member of the MUDSLUTS, which mudding with them were some of the greatest stories he had. The smile that came across his face when telling stories about his younger days was often followed by his contagious “cackle”, there was never a dry eye when his stories were finished. Nick also spent countless hours with his future son in law, Spencer Wester, working on cars and sharing the love of firefighting.
Nick was a current employee for EVAPAR. His work there brought him pride, but the friendships he created became a second family to him. The values of the company was what Nick appreciated most. He did not see EVAPAR as work and looked forward to going there each day.
Nick’s greatest passion in life was helping people. He lived out this passion through serving Warrick County as a volunteer firefighter. Nick was a part of Ohio Township Paradise Station from 1996 to 2007. He became a member of Chandler Volunteer Fire Department in 2013 and faithfully served his community until his passing. During his time, Nick served as captain, assistant chief, and cadet coordinator. He loved teaching the future and current firemen the safest practices, how to drive the trucks, best use of equipment (especially the 6x6), and what dedication to your community truly means. Nick’s passion for firefighting and being a first responder was so strong he passed the love on to his daughter Arizona, who continues her dad’s legacy today by serving on the Chandler Volunteer Fire Department.
In Nick’s final days, he continued to fight and live life to the fullest. His strength and character shone in his final hours. There will always be a piece missing in everyone’s life who knew him, but his memories will live on in each of their hearts.
Nick was a hero to all who knew him. His hero reached into his community, countless others outside of his community and to his family.
His wife, Melissa, shared this with me.
...He was amazing. Never one day went by that he didn’t make me and the kids feel loved. We are lucky.
Very few, if any of us, will achieve the status and celebrity of Kobe Bryant. In perspective, our community is small compared to the entire world. But, the impact that Nick made on our community was huge. Through his career, his charity work with the Jeepers and his love for his wife and kids, he was the best kind of here. He was a hero we can all be. We all have the potential to help, assist, and show unconditional kindness to those around us. If we were all more like Nick today, our community would be better tomorrow.
My heart goes out to all who loved Nick. If you would like to help the family of Nick Pribble, there has been a fund set up at Old National Bank. Donations can be made to Melissa Pribble special fund for the Nick Pribble family.