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Community mourns a Claiborne Co. man who was hit by a car after serving as firefighter for more than 20 years

The Tennessee Highway Patrol said Roger Estes died after a car hit him. He was directing traffic at an event on Highway 33 in New Tazewell.

CLAIBORNE COUNTY, Tenn. — Family and friends are mourning a firefighter who was hit by a car in Claiborne County while directing traffic for an event on Highway 33. Roger Estes, 77, died while on duty. 

"I'd like for everyone to remember Roger Estes as a true American hero," said Jeremy Harmon, the assistant chief of the South Clairborne Volunteer Fire Department. 

Estes served as a fireman for the town of Derry, New Hampshire, for nearly 20 years. 

"He was a big inspiration," said Lt. Devin Estes, his grandson. "He was in the navy for 8 years, four of which were full-time active duty. Another four were in the Seabees." 

Devin Estes is also a firefighter and he said his grandfather spent his life protecting others. When Roger retired, his grandson said he moved to Tennessee and became a volunteer fireman for the South Claiborne County Fire Department.

"They begged him and him to join, so he comes home. Next thing you know, he's down here in an apartment, He was just having fun," said Devin. 

He followed in his grandfather's footsteps. He joined the fire department at just 11 years old and worked with his grandfather up until the day he died. 

"I was there with him when it happened. I'll tell you, you don't know what to do," said Devin. "It's very hard, but I know he wouldn't want us to be so worried."

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