Richard Michael Hempel had a calling to serve his community from a young age, eventually becoming tri-certified as a first responder. At the age of 15, Rick became a member of the Lake Jackson Police Explorers Program. Soon after, following in his dad’s footsteps, he joined the Lake Jackson Volunteer Fire Department and would help on EMS scenes, which naturally led to him obtaining his EMT.
After being medically discharged from the Air Force, Rick returned home to Texas. He still had the urge to help others. In 1991, Rick graduated from Alvin Police Academy, where he worked for Clute and Bay City Police Departments.
After leaving all aspects of first responding for a few years, Rick felt a heart tug and returned to first responding, where he was hired on with Freeport Fire Department as a full-time firefighter/EMT and earned his National Registry paramedic license.
After 30 plus years working in all aspects of fire, EMS, and law enforcement, Rick obtained several accolades and accreditations. These included awards for service during Hurricanes Andrew and Ike, Intermediate Marine Fire Fighting, Advanced Fire Fighter certificate, Level II Instructor, Certification Coordinator, Basic Arson Investigator, Advanced Peace Officer, Advanced SWAT Officer, and National Registry Paramedic.
Rick retired from Oyster Creek Police Department as captain in 2020. After working in a COVID Response Unit as a paramedic in 2021, he was hired at Limestone County EMS and volunteered with Groesbeck Fire Department, where he quickly moved to the rank of lieutenant. He loved his little community of Limestone County, the patients and friends he made while on shift and on scenes. He loved continuing his education in fire and medicine, as it was always changing and gaining new technology. He knew he was getting too old to be in the fire, so he turned his attention to teaching the younger firefighters how to be safe on scene and get back home to their loved ones.
While his dedication to serving others meant time away from home and family, we knew what he was doing was so important. He leaves behind his adoring wife of almost 24 years, three incredible sons, three fantastic daughters-in-law, two amazing grandchildren, his mom, brother, sisters, and niece and nephews. We are proud of our very own personal hero.