On January 11, 2021, Peoria Fire-Medical Department Retired Captain David Rehnke passed away. Captain Rehnke succumbed to his 10-year battle with renal cell carcinoma.
In 1961, David John Rehnke was born in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area. At 13 years old, he moved with his family to Phoenix, Arizona, where he graduated from Marcos de Niza High School. Shortly after, in 1985, Captain Rehnke began his public safety career as a volunteer with the City of Chandler Fire Department. He was hired as a full-time firefighter at the Peoria Fire-Medical Department (PFMD) on February 13, 1989. After seven years, he promoted to engineer and then to captain twelve years later. Captain Rehnke cherished his job; in particular, he enjoyed working on the rig, frequently helping to design and develop future generations of PFMD apparatus. Once he promoted to captain, he served to encourage and develop the careers of others in the department for the next seven years.
After his occupational cancer diagnosis on April 21, 2011, Captain Rehnke became training captain and would spend the remainder of his career designing safeguards for the next generation of Peoria firefighters. Captain Rehnke also served as a paramedic with the department for 25 years and took the lead in many other roles, including terrorism liaison officer, lead driving trainer, boat operator instructor, and lead preceptor for paramedic students.
Captain Rehnke believed in, and was truly passionate about, serving his community and colleagues. He was committed to making things better for those that followed him, leaving a memorable impact. Even after his cancer diagnosis, Captain Rehnke served as state director for the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, established new decontamination guidelines, and expanded firefighter presumptive cancer coverage in Arizona. In his career he was bestowed with many honors and ranks, the most prestigious being the Johnny Valentine Award, which recognizes the best of the best in the Peoria Medical-Fire Department.
Captain Rehnke was a lifelong fan of the Minnesota Vikings, a passionate woodworker, and enjoyed traveling and spending time with his family. He is survived by his lovely wife, Brenda, and two children, Shannon and Dustin; his mother, Vera Bole, and her husband, Herman; and his stepmother, Jan Rehnke. Captain Rehnke will be truly missed, but he leaves a legacy which will live on forever in the paths he carved for future generations.