National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Firefighter
Age: 34
Year of Death: 2021

James C. Bissonette

James C. Bissonette was born on April 1, 1987, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When he was a young child, he moved to Merna, Nebraska, to live with his great aunt and uncle, who he lovingly called Grandma and Grandpa.

James grew up in Merna, Nebraska. Through high school, he farmed and ranched with local farmers. He grew to enjoy helping with prescribed pasture burns. Following graduation, he enrolled at Mid Plains Community College, where he studied automotive technology. In high school he met Michaela Nelson. The young couple represented the true meaning of high school sweethearts. Michaela became his wife in 2011, after dating for seven years. The two were married for ten years and had two children, Ella and Jack.

In James’s short 34 years, he created a life to be proud of, one which he fought to live exactly how he wanted—fiercely loving his family, diligently working hard, and attentively caring for his kids. James was not only the best family man, but also the friend everyone loved to have. He boldly advised, “what needs done,” insisted on helping wherever he could, and carefully slowed down for good conversation around a summer campfire. His smile could light up a room, and his playful sense of humor could leave you with a laughing-induced side ache. He held firm to his values, didn’t do anything that he didn’t believe was right, and did everything true to his word. He lived each day as its own.

In recent years, he became passionate about volunteering his time with the Broken Bow Fire Department. He also loved driving the ambulance for the EMS crews. He spent a lot of time trying to perfect putting on his gear quickly, taking the kids with him to fill the pop fridge at the station, and learning everything about the new ladder truck.

His life ended too soon, but we find comfort knowing that he is in God’s hands. His wife, children, friends, and family now have the biggest angel watching over them. James left this world a hero by donating his organs to help save others.

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  1. May God ride with you.

    – Vernon Bissonette