Johnny Tetrick was born August 2,1971, in Seoul, South Korea, to Kris and Tsuruko Tetrick. At a young age, Johnny learned what it meant to work hard for what you have and want in life. Being the only child, Johnny started working on his father’s farm at age five. By age 16, he went on to learn how to build houses and landscape. He bought his first rental property at age 17 after learning these skills from his father. Johnny tried out college at his favorite school, Ohio State University, for a year, to no avail. He wanted to serve others while being part of the action, like his dad.
In 1995, after studying for months on end, Johnny took the Cleveland fire test and beat everyone in his class by one point. Johnny loved being a fireman and traveling during his early years on CFD. He ran with the bulls in Spain on three separate occasions, bungee jumped out of hot air balloons in Amsterdam, and traveled to Ireland, Belize, etc., until he made his final move to Engine Company Number 22. It was at Station 22 that Johnny learned what it was like to have brothers who love and uplift unconditionally and where Johnny would later give his life to Jesus Christ and become a believer. He became a father at age 27, and his entire world changed. Johnny loved his three girls more than anything. He dedicated every spare moment when he wasn’t working one of his three jobs to pouring into them.
He instilled into them his servant’s heart, his integrity, and his love for Jesus and others. He shared his humility, his strong spirit, and his love for family, travel, and adrenaline. He taught them how to work, starting at a young age, and stressed that nothing worth having in life comes easy. He was a jokester, a best friend, and the guy you could count on to not only show up but show up with an answer. His brothers on the fire department called him “just solid,” and he lived that out in every area of his life.
More than anything, Johnny knew and loved Jesus Christ. He went on many mission trips in and out of the country. He showed every person what it meant to be a true believer in words and actions. Of his 27 years and two months on the Cleveland Fire Department, Johnny spent 25 of them at Engine Company 22, where his girls’ first phrase would be “double deuce baby,” and where he would tragically attend his last alarm surrounded by his brothers. On his helmet that he wore that day, Johnny had freehand painted one of his favorite Bible verses, John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. And that is what he did.