A memorial service was held Friday in honor of Los Angeles County Firefighter Jonathan Flagler, who died battling a house fire in Rancho Palos Verdes earlier this month.

Family, friends, along with hundreds of firefighters throughout the region, gathered at the 10 a.m. service at Cottonwood Church at 4505 Katella Ave. in Los Alamitos.

At the service, Flagler was remembered for his love of family and helping others, described as exemplifying “what a true hero is: caring, selfless and brave.”

His wife, Jenny, and their two sons, Brody and Jack, all spoke at the service. The boys reminisced about the fun side of their dad, discussing his love of football — he sometimes traded Sunday shifts to watch NFL games with his sons — and how he carried jolly ranchers around and passed them out to the boys’ friends, earning him the nickname “Uncle Jolly.”

HIs wife said she knew he was the one on their first date.

“I knew he was the man I was meant to spend the rest of my life with. I didn’t get the rest of my life, but I got the rest of his,” she said through tears. “Thank you, John, for your never-failing love and devotion to our family. You have left a piece of yourself in our voice.”

Flagler spent more than 21 years as a firefighter, most of which was with the city of Vernon before transferring to Los Angeles County two years ago.

The 47-year-old Flagler was among the crew members from Fire Station 83 who responded to an early morning blaze on Jan. 6 in the 30700 block of Tarapaca Road.

The home became engulfed after firefighters entered the structure, and Flagler was overcome, Interim Fire Chief Anthony Marrone said following the incident.

Flagler was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he later died.

“Fire Fighter Flagler was a devoted husband, father, uncle, friend, and hero.  He was a highly respected and esteemed LACoFD firefighter who truly embodied our core values of courage, caring, commitment, community, integrity, and teamwork while on- and off-the job.  Fire Fighter Flagler will be tremendously missed by all of us – and we will never forget him,” the Fire Department sated in a release.

“I want John to be remembered as the guy who walks into a room and his smile lights up that room. He’s one of the most well organized, well spoken, well respected firefighters on our job. And everybody that knew him counts him as their friend,” Capt. Dave Gillotte said.

Donations to the Flagler family memorial fund can be made by mail to F&A Federal Credit Union, 2625 Corporate Place Monterey Park, CA 91754, attention “Flagler Memorial Fund.”

Donations can also be made via telephone by calling the F&A Credit Union at 800-222-1226, attention “Flagler Memorial Fund.”

“Lets leave a legacy of John’s service and dedication and love to his family through that fund … We’ve got a lot of healing to do,” Gillote said.