Roll of Honor

Tomasz M. Kaczowka

Tomasz M. Kaczowka

  • Firefighter
  • West Webster Fire District
  • New York
  • Age: 19
  • Year of Death: 2012

‘I have no ambition in this world but one‚ and that is to be a fireman. The position may‚ in the eyes of some‚ appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling. Our proudest moment is to save lives.’ During his short 19 years‚ Tomasz Kaczowka modeled his life after Edward Croker’s quote.

Born on May 16‚ 1993‚ Tomasz Marian Kaczowka was a first generation Polish-American and the youngest of three brothers. He loved his friends and family‚ visiting Poland‚ and helping others. Those who knew him remember him as an energetic‚ fun-loving individual with a sense of humor and a contagious smile. He enjoyed making people laugh and playing jokes on his unsuspecting brothers‚ Dariusz and Greg. His parents‚ Janina and Marian‚ taught him to work hard and reap the benefits of a career he was passionate about‚ although few people would have guessed that he would become a firefighter.

Tomasz developed an interest in civil service at a young age‚ drawn to any profession requiring a uniform and helping others. He joined the West Webster Explorers Post at age 14‚ eagerly attending trainings in order to develop himself as a firefighter and help the other explorers he trained with. During high school‚ Tomasz enrolled in certified first responder and EMT courses at the Eastern Monroe Career Center in Rochester‚ eventually earning CFR and EMT certifications. He graduated the Explorers Program in August 2011 at age 18‚ becoming the youngest volunteer firefighter in the department.

After becoming a firefighter‚ Tomasz’s interest in civil service expanded outside of the fire department. He continued his studies with a concentration in fire safety at Monroe Community College‚ while simultaneously working full time as a fire dispatcher for the Rochester Emergency Communications Department on the overnight shift. Even with this rigorous schedule‚ Tomasz still dedicated time to attend incidents‚ and was placed on the dean’s list for the fall of 2012. In preparation for life after college‚ he planned to take professional firefighter exams in Prince George’s County‚ Maryland‚ and Charlotte‚ North Carolina.

Tomasz Kaczowka was killed in the line of duty along with his friend and mentor‚ Michael Chiapperini‚ during an ambush at the scene of a fire on December 24‚ 2012. He had selflessly offered to stay at the firehouse overnight so that other firefighters could spend time with their families on Christmas Eve. His heroic actions will not be forgotten.

Tomasz’s dedication and drive to succeed in civil service serve as proof that age is not always an accurate measure of a person’s character and ability. Hopefully Tomasz’s actions will serve as a guide for other young firefighters.

  • (will not be published)

Memorial Wall

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