Bob was born in 1956 and grew up on the family farm in rural Nebraska. He was the youngest of 12 and from a very early age was known for his kind heart and jokester personality. He graduated from high school in 1974 and went on to receive a degree in auto mechanics. In 1982, Bob started Husker Service in Ponca, Nebraska and was still operating his business when he passed away.
In 1994, he saw that the local fire department needed volunteers so thought, “Why not?” and joined. That decision led to him being a dedicated member for over 26 years. He served as both an EMT and firefighter, earning numerous awards for Fire/Rescue Person of the Year for all of his hard work. He was also the department rescue captain for 22 years, ensuring that fellow EMTs had the tools, resources, and training they needed to safely serve our community.
Bob’s true passion, though, was fire prevention. He served as Ponca’s fire prevention officer for over 20 years, as well as president of the Northeast Nebraska Fire Prevention Co-op. He brought several new resources to our community, including Fire Pup, his fire prevention puppets, and Fireman Spongebob, a whimsical clown character he came up with after attending State Fire School. Fireman Spongebob was a staple in our community. Everyone knew him and looked forward to seeing what new fire prevention tips he had to share.
Bob was a trusted businessman, a dedicated fireman/EMT, but most importantly he was an incredible husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He and his wife, Kim, were married for 39 years, and he had three daughters and nine grandchildren who all thought the world of him. He would do anything for anyone and was a great friend to many.
Bob knew the risks associated with being a fireman/EMT. He trained many members on how to be safe while serving our community. Despite taking all of the precautions he could, Bob contracted COVID. He fought a hard battle, but his body grew tired, and God called him Home on December 7, 2020.
His loss hit us all hard—his family, his friends, and his fellow fire department brothers and sisters. This was evident by the outpouring of love and support they showed us during his illness and how they honored him after his death. COVID meant there were limits on how many people could be at his funeral, but that didn’t stop them from helping us give him a proper send off. Fire trucks from ten area departments, fellow firefighters, community members, friends, and neighbors lined the streets and sidewalks as he was given one last ride throughout town in his beloved fire prevention trailer.