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Hundreds of mourners with broken hearts but fond memories said goodbye Friday with tears and laughter to Durham firefighter Brad Roberts. They remembered Roberts as a loyal friend, a loving brother and son, a devoted firefighter. Some said they couldn’t understand why someone so young — 26 — been taken from them. But one friend thought he knew why: God had taken Roberts to heaven, because he had done such a good job on earth. More than once, speakers at New Horizon Church on Highway 70 broke down in midsentence as they looked at his flag-draped coffin — recalling how he loved fishing, ham sandwiches and Pop-Tarts — but how he loved family and friends even more. They said that Roberts — fatally injured Tuesday while he was off duty when he fell from a tree as he was cutting limbs — had taught them how to treasure every minute on earth, knowing it could be their last. Band member Lloyd Johnson was there to help honor the memory of Brad.

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