Ever since he was a child, Corey Weber knew he wanted to be an emergency medical technician and firefighter.
Following in the footsteps of his father, whom he idolized, Weber never considered doing anything else with his life. At 5, Weber was dispatching ambulances with correct 10-codes on a portable console his parents believed to be broken.
His mom, Tammy Weber, got a call from dispatchers: “Do you have a portable at home? Corey’s on it.”
At 12, Corey Weber was correcting firefighter trainees as he pretended to be the victim during their practical exams.
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And at 25, Corey Weber went on his final call as a firefighter and EMT at New Athens Fire District and the New Athens Ambulance service before he died Sunday, possibly because of his many medical issues.
His family doesn’t know exactly what caused his death. But Corey Weber had been suffering from medical issues for almost his entire life. He was diabetic and was diagnosed with pancreatitis when he was 16. Because of a slow-growing, cancerous tumor doctors found when he had his appendix removed, he had surgery to take out part of his colon when he was 18.
At times, his blood sugar dropped so low it pushed him toward death, although someone had always been there to help him or give him his insulin. But not this time.
“He couldn’t balance his blood sugar because of the pain medicines,” said Brittney Huetsch, Corey’s older sister. “He would take one pain med, it would spike his sugar, then he’d eat and it would drop his sugar. It was just a teeter-totter.”
Even through the chronic pain caused by the pancreatitis and his struggles to keep his blood sugar balanced as his pain medicine sent it all over the place, Corey Weber’s love for fighting fires and being an EMT never wavered.
“He would do everything he could, even when he was probably hurting more than the patient he served,” Tammy Weber said.
And beyond his work, Corey Weber just enjoyed making people feel better, especially when life had knocked them down, his mom said. When he knew someone was suffering, he’d message them on Facebook and ask what he could do to help, or just spend time talking to them — even if he didn’t know them.
When he rear-ended a woman just before Christmas and found out she didn’t have car insurance, he paid for her insurance and asked Facebook friends to help gather donations for gifts for her daughter, who had cancer.
Corey Weber wasn’t perfect — everyone has their flaws. He could be moody, and he had a hard time saying “no” to anyone, said Brett Weber, Corey’s older brother.
But man did he love to help others, his family said.
“He lived his life to be a firefighter and EMT,” Brett Weber said. “It was what he wanted to do since we were kids.”