Kerry G. Neis
- Fort Rucker Directorate of Public Safety Fire and Emergency
- Age: 31
- Year of Death: 2002
Submitted by his wife
As children‚ we all dream of what we want to be when we grow up. Few of us‚ however‚ actually fulfill our dreams. Kerry Neis was the exception. He always dreamed of doing something good for someone else‚ of being there in another’s time of need‚ of making a difference in this world. Kerry dreamed of being a firefighter. When Kerry was in the second grade‚ he wrote a letter as part of a class project to the Lubbock City Fire Chief. He told the chief how he had always dreamed of riding on a fire truck. That year on Kerry’s birthday‚ the city fire department came to his house and gave him a ride on the engine. Kerry got his birthday wish. The beginning of his dreams were starting to be realized.
Kerry’s life of service began far earlier than his service in the fire department. When Kerry was eight years old he joined the Cub Scouts. When he turned ten he joined the Boy Scouts and worked tirelessly to finally achieve the rank of Eagle Scout when he was nineteen. This was by far one of his proudest accomplishments. Immediately after graduating from high school‚ Kerry continued his life of service by joining the United States National Guard. He served proudly for two years before joining ROTC in college. After college Kerry served in the United States Army for six years as a firefighter. His dreams were coming true. Kerry loved his country deeply‚ and one of the greatest things he could ever do was to give a piece of himself back to the land that he loved so deeply. After getting out of the military‚ Kerry continued his lifelong dream of service by becoming a firefighter for the federal government and joining the National Guard.
Kerry was a simple humble man. He never needed nor did he ask for riches or fame. He was perfectly happy spending time outdoors either hiking‚ camping fishing‚ or just sitting around on the back deck telling stories and laughing with his friends. Kerry could find humor in almost anything‚ and that sense of humor is one of the things that drew people to him. He was also continuing his education to become an even better man of service. He was actively enrolled in correspondence courses and attended seminars and workshops to improve his firefighting skills. He believed in working hard to achieve success‚ nothing was ever handed to him. Every honor he received‚ he earned with hard work‚ determination and good-ol’ fashioned sweat. He gave so much of himself to every person he met‚ and he never asked for anything in return.
Kerry was happiest‚ however‚ when he was with his family. For Kerry‚family always came before work or play. The proudest day for Kerry‚ without a doubt‚ was the day he and his wife‚ Katherine‚ brought their daughter Sarah into this world. For Kerry‚ nothing could replace that moment. As with everything else Kerry did‚ he worked constantly to ensure his family’s happiness and security.
At 31 years old‚ Kerry was shockingly taken from us all on December 4‚ 2002‚ in a tragic training accident‚ when his firetruck jumped out of gear and ran away. No one‚ not his crew‚ his captain‚ or fellow firefighters could have expected it‚ and it was over before any of them even knew what had happened. But even in death‚ Kerry’s life of service and dreams of helping others in need continue. New training procedures have been implemented and new safety mechanisms have been installed on the trucks.
Kerry is still working hard to ensure the happiness and security of us all.
“Dear Mrs. Neis, I just wanted to send my condolences for your terrible loss. From what I have read, your husband sounded like a wonderful firefighter and above all husband and father. I am sure he is up in heaven looking down at you and your beautiful daughter Sarah with pride and love. Best wishes to your family, Pam Arrant”– Pam Arrant