Submitted by his wife
Travis Lyn Wiens‚ ‘Yepper’ or ‘Yep Man‚’ 28 years old‚ lost his life in the line of duty on August 12‚ 2002 while fighting a grass fire when a civilian truck hit the fire truck Travis was on.
Travis joined the Explorer’s Program with the Shepherd Volunteer Fire Department in Shepherd‚ Montana when he was 15 years old. He served in the Explorer’s Program for 3 years gaining skills and training to be a fire fighter and first responder. At the age of 18 Travis joined the Shepherd Volunteer Fire Department and served as a fire fighter/first responder. When Travis moved to Billings‚ Montana he continued to serve with the Shepherd Volunteer Fire Department until he graduated high school. He then moved to Las Vegas‚ Nevada where he became an EMT. While in Las Vegas Travis served with the local fire department while working for Mercy Ambulance Service. Travis moved back to Billings‚ Montana and volunteered with the city fire department while continuing to work as an EMT for Billings Ambulance Service. In the fall of 1997‚ Travis and his wife moved to Electra‚ Texas and he joined the Punkin Center Volunteer Fire Department and later transfered to Electra Volunteer Fire Department where he served until his move to Wichita Falls‚ Texas in 2001. Travis was a member of the Wichita East Volunteer Fire Department until a cross town move required him to transfer departments‚ he then became a member of the Wichita West Volunteer Fire Department where he was serving at the time of his death. As well as serving the community as a volunteer fire fighter Travis was also an employee of American Medical Response. He was working toward his dream of being a Licensed Paramedic and serving his community. Travis was always continuing his training and education to stay current on his fire fighting and EMT skills‚ he wanted to be the best that he could be. No matter what fire department or ambulance service he was a part of he gave 100% of himself.
Travis served his community in other ways as well. He was a Licensed Foster Parent from 1998-2002. During this time he fostered 10 children and received numerous awards and certificates. He dedicated every Saturday he was off to be involved with Street R.A.G.E.‚ his church’s program to give the youth of the city a positive alternative to the violence in which they live. The theme for 2002 was Heroes in the Ring‚ Travis became the ‘hero in the ring’ showing everyone what being a servant to all was truly about. To Travis there was no greater reward than seeing that he had made a positive difference in someone’s life‚ no matter their age.
The Maltese Cross is the symbol used to recognize fire fighters. It shows protection and represents the principles of charity‚ loyalty‚ chivalry‚ gallantry‚ generosity to friend and foe and dexterity in service. It means that the fire fighter who wears this cross is willing to lay down his life to help others in need. That was the kind of person Travis was‚ no matter what the need he was willing to help other at any cost.
Travis’s sense of humor to crack a joke when least expected lightened the somber times‚ yet he took all aspects of Fire and EMS tasks seriously because he wanted to become the best he could be. He took pride in being part of a team of professionals.
Travis is remembered with many fond memories by his co-workers. They will tell you there is not just one special moment to identify who Travis is because he still lives in the hearts of those who knew him best. One co-worker remembers a time when a friend was in need of food and toys during the Christmas holidays‚ Travis drove up to the station and had a trunk full of groceries and a back seat so full of toys that his foster son barely had room to sit‚ he looked like part of the toy collection. This was just a part of what Travis was all about‚ he did things like this on a regular basis. He always had an ear-to-ear smile‚ the most positive attitude‚ and so caring and compassionate. Travis quickly became know as Yepper or Yep Man because every time he was asked to do something‚ if he had not already volunteered for it‚ his answer was always yep‚ on or off the clock. Travis’s partner remembers he was always ready to help‚ taking time to learn and then taking that knowledge to a higher level‚ striving to be the best EMS partner he could be and anticipating her moves making her job easier. She recalls a time when they had worked a serious accident involving a pin-in‚ the patient died but she found Travis sitting on the back of the ambulance crying. He felt there should have been something more he could have done to save the patient’s life. Another time she recalls a woman watched her husband die in their home and Travis put his arm around her and comforted her until other family members arrived. She told him that he was the most compassionate EMT and that his care for the wife was the most heartfelt gift he could give in her time of sorrow. Ironically this was the last call they ran together.
Travis loved his wife‚ family‚ friends‚ job‚ and volunteering with the fire department. He gave 100% every time‚ every call‚ every person. He loved being a foster parent and every foster child had so much love and respect for Travis that they all lovingly called him ‘Dad.’ This made it hard to know where the fostering left off and the real parenting began‚ but this was Travis.
He answered his calling in life‚ a great husband‚ friend‚ foster parent‚ most impressive Fire fighter and EMT with dedication beyond comprehension. He answered many fire and EMS calls but he answered his last call on Monday‚ August 12‚ 2002 when God called him home.
Travis proved himself to be the best. His unselfishness and willingness to put others before himself makes him our hometown hero. The Star of Life is the EMS symbol. Travis is truly a Star of Life and his star will shine forever in the sky and in our hearts. In May 2003 Travis was honored with the Star of Life Award by the American Ambulance Association and by American Medical Response in remembrance of his dedication and compassion for his job and his community. What an impressive man at such a young age. We all hope that in our life time we can accomplish even half of what Travis has in his.
Travis‚ we miss you but you will never be forgotten‚ for you are a true hero. Go Get ‘Em Boy‚ Sic ‘Em!!