Rob Orkies was destined to be a hero. He was born April 8, 1965, the middle child and only son, to William and Patricia Orkies in Louisville, Kentucky. After losing his own parents early in life, Rob learned to cherish family bonds, to love deeply, and to live life to the fullest. Chief Orkies succumbed to his dual battle with occupational cancer and Covid-19 on December 11, 2020.
He was lucky enough to have found his lifelong love, Billie Jo, when he was a teenager. He adored his bride, his son Patrick, his daughter Trish, their spouses, and his granddaughters, Preslie and Rylee. Nothing in his life came before his family.
But if you knew Rob, you knew his heart was big enough to love more than just one family. His passion for firefighting started in 1984 and never left him. Chief Orkies began his fire service career at the Okolona Fire Department immediately after graduating high school, rising to the rank of captain. He returned to his home community of Zoneton Fire, joining the fire district there in 1994 as a volunteer, and soon became volunteer chief. He was hired by the former Edgewood Fire Protection District as its fire chief. He was later hired as full-time Zoneton fire chief in 2003. During his career, Chief Orkies led command on multiple major disasters, including a tornado, plane crashes, and Kentucky’s largest train derailment, for which he was nationally recognized for his leadership and was requested to speak in Washington, DC.
Rob believed in community service long before this became a fire service mainstay with many community outreach programs. His passion for public service was unrivaled, with his goal to make his community a safer, more enjoyable place to live. He made helping Kentuckiana through the Crusade for Children a priority where firefighters learned to work together for the good of others. He was well known as the local Santa on the yearly fire truck visits. He touched more lives than ever anticipated. His crew, colleagues, and firefighters respected Chief Orkies for who he was and loved him for who they strived to be.
Rob never met a stranger and was a friend to all. He was highly respected for his fire service leadership. Most importantly, he will always be remembered as a kind, gentle, caring, and generous person that could light up any room with his warm smile and kind heart. If you spent one minute with Rob, you left a little happier and a little more loved than when you came. His silly sense of humor is irreplaceable, and his compassion was indisputable. For his many friends and family, his loss is immeasurable.