Robin M. Zang-Broxterman

Robin M. Zang-Broxterman

Robin was never the biggest‚ but she was daring and very competitive. An accomplished artist and champion speed skater‚ she enjoyed softball‚ soccer‚ and loved riding Roscoe through the woods. Family gatherings‚ Sunday dinners‚ Disney vacations‚ and family reunions provide many cherished memories. We will always treasure Easter‚ our last family meal together the week before she died. Robin stuffed 400 eggs‚ some with broccoli as a joke.

Robin’s passion for the fire service was exceeded only by her devotion to her girls‚ Courtney (8) and Sierra (10). She was their soccer coach‚ room mother‚ riding instructor and involved in all their activities.

The first inkling that Robin was good at saving lives came at age twelve. While all the adults were ducking‚ Robin threw herself in front of a toddler about to be struck by a baseball. The parents in the stands that day knew she was a hero in the making. It was her compassion and caring for people that prompted her to become a firefighter. She began her career as a D.O.D. firefighter/HAZMAT tech for Fernald and attained the rank of emergency chief.

A 17-year veteran‚ Robin was Colerain’s first female fire captain. Her crew received the Ohio Star of Life and other accolades for their actions saving lives. She earned degrees in fire science technology and fire safety engineering at University of Cincinnati. She wrote curriculum for Delmar’s fire instructor text and adjunct faculty at Cincinnati State College and Great Oaks Institute. She was a member of Local 3915. Robin was enrolled at the National Fire Academy‚ but died prior to attending. Her class placed her helmet on her seat‚ carried her picture‚ and elected her president.

Robin was engaged to marry Green Township Firefighter Donald Patterson. Both vowed never to marry again‚ but their 20-year friendship turned to love when they both realized they were destined to forever be ‘soul mates.’ Their dreams came to an abrupt end during a catastrophic collapse at the house fire on Squirrels Nest Lane‚ April 4‚ 2008.

Robin was proud to be a Colerain Township fire captain. She embraced the rewards of being a firefighter – love of children‚ community admiration‚ and the sense of brotherhood within the firehouse. Robin truly lived life to the fullest. Her contagious smile‚ generosity and selflessness‚ always raised our spirits.

Robin died doing what she swore to do – protect property‚ save lives‚ and serve her community. Robin’s life will continue to inspire us‚ cause us to search for the best in ourselves‚ and remind us of what we can become.

Brian W. Schira

Brian W. Schira

On November 13‚ 2007‚ Brian William Schira‚ ‘Chico’ to his friends‚ achieved the second phase of his long-term goal in becoming a career firefighter. Colerain Township is the largest township in Ohio‚ with over 9‚000 fire/EMS runs per year. For someone serious about firefighting‚ this was the department to be on‚ and Brian had just been accepted as a part-time firefighter/EMT.

A year and a half earlier‚ Brian began his firefighting career as a part-time firefighter/EMT on the Delhi Township Fire Department. Here he was among friends from school days and worked in a community not unlike the one he grew up in‚ mostly residential with a small business section in the middle of town. Despite these limitations‚ Delhi is where Brian experienced his first working fire‚ when the local Jiffy Lube went up in smoke. His natural perseverance and high energy would serve him well that day. Brian’s cell phone minutes burned away rapidly as he later called each family member to give a full accounting of the event. You could not listen to him that day without smiling yourself‚ because you heard the excitement in his voice‚ and you knew that a big grin was spread across his face.

Those who worked with Brian remember him as a ‘firefighter’s firefighter.’ Many firefighters have the knowledge and education but lack the hands-on experience to put the right solution to the right problem. Brian acquired the technical ability and insight to view a situation completely and arrive at the right solution for the problem at hand from his eight years at Home Depot. These abilities and his genuine concern made him a valuable asset to both Colerain and Delhi Townships.

Phase 3 of Brian’s career plan was to obtain his paramedic certification and move on to becoming a full-time firefighter. Phase 3 will not be completed by Brian because of his untimely death. However‚ due to the generosity of the members of the Tri-State communities‚ Brian’s family has been able to establish the Brian W. Schira ‘102’ Scholarship Fund. This scholarship will provide the funding for the paramedic certification courses needed by Colerain and Delhi firefighters in order to advance in their careers.

The greatest tribute the recipients of the scholarship fund can offer to honor Brian is to be men and women of conviction‚ dedicating themselves to serving their community as he did. Brian will live on through them. Every time we see a young firefighter with that look of excitement and enthusiasm‚ we will see Brian.