People in red uniforms, blue scrubs, police uniforms and leather jackets gathered in force on Thursday evening to remember two remarkable medics gone too soon.
Nicholas Branham, 36, of Valparaiso, and Jaclyn Nauracy, 26, of Schererville, worked for Superior Ambulance Service and were remembered for their love of serving others.
The Angels of Mayhem Motorcycle Club, Unforgotten Souls, Sanctified Souls and Brothers in Blue rallied in a rumble of engines flanked by emergency response vehicles to pay their respects.
Kevin LaDuke, president of the Angels of Mayhem Motorcycle Club and the battalion chief for The Town of St. John Fire Department, said he's amazed at the large crowds that attended each service.
"They're both caring and loving people," LaDuke said. "They spent their entire lives devoted to others. ... It's a somber moment, but it's also more of a celebration. The outpouring of 60-something bikers, five support vehicles, all of these people here, it's very humbling. But it's not about us, it's all about them, honoring their lives."
Branham and Nauracy died Sunday after the driver of a white Cadillac Escalade pulled into the path of the motorcycle they were riding at Ind. 130 and Froberg Road in Valparaiso.
About 65 motorcycles traveled from Three Monkeys Pub in Crown Point and rode to Burns-Kish Funeral Home in Munster, where Branham's service took place. After paying their respects, they continued on to Nauracy's Indiana Volunteer Firefighters Association service at Chapel Lawn Funeral Home. Branham and Nauracy both were friends to club members.
Branham was a paramedic and volunteer firefighter, and Nauracy was an emergency medical technician. Nauracy was planning to start the fire academy next month.
Nauracy was a volunteer EMT for the Lake Hills Fire Department, and Branham recently signed on as a volunteer firefighter in South Haven. Friends, coworkers and family described the two as a powerful force of good in the community. Fallon Jones, dispatcher for InHealth Integrated Care, was one of the many who paid their respects Thursday.
"EMS is family," Jones said. "We all stick together, we don't care what uniform you're wearing, you're family."
Branham's cousin, Jackie Labriola, said Branham was a devoted father to his 11-year-old daughter Alyssa, and that he would "give anyone the shirt off of his back."
"Everything that people are saying about him is true," Labriola said. "He got into the right profession, because he loves people, and people loved him."
Greg James, a coworker at Superior Ambulance, fondly remembers fishing with Branham at Centennial Park and grabbing tacos at local restaurants.
"We loved them both," James said. "I don't think anyone in the community who knew them didn't love them. They were fun people, both light-hearted, bright-spirited people."
Allison Cheeseman, a paramedic at Superior Ambulance, mentored Nauracy in the months leading to her passing and has known Branham for years.
"The thing with Jacqueline, is that she really wanted to make a difference," Cheeseman said. "She didn't have to try, she just did. She was the most sweetest, most giving person I've met. She thought of everyone before herself."
At one point, she worked as an EMT and also provided applied behavior analysis therapy for special needs children.
"She was always just helping people," brother Adam Nauracy said. "She really did not care about what kind of money she was making. She really just cared about 'Can I make somebody's life better?'" he said.
Nauracy's funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 10701 Olcott Ave., St. John.
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