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National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Captain
Age: 49
Year of Death: 2023

Wayne M. Brooks Jr.

Wayne M. Brooks Jr. was born on June 3, 1974, in Glenridge, New Jersey. The son of Linda (Terry) and Wayne Brooks Sr., he graduated from St. Benedict’s Prep in 1992. Wayne was an exceptional student and a successful athlete. He was a member of the first minority Sabre fencing team, “The Gray Bees,” to make it to the Junior Olympics, representing St. Benedict’s.

His life goal was to serve his community. Wayne made the decision to take the Newark Firefighter and Police examinations, where he achieved top scores in both, making him a sought-after recruit for both departments. After much consideration, knowing he had family members serving in law enforcement, he decided to make the brave decision to become a professional firefighter, graduating first in his class! Wayne served proudly in the Newark Fire Department for 16.5 years.

Wayne is known for his culinary skills throughout the Newark Fire Department, where he often prepared large meals for his colleagues that were Top Chef worthy. Wayne had a crabcake recipe that was worthy of a medal of honor from the president! During his career as an exemplary firefighter, he took many young recruits under his wing, teaching them the expert ways of how to become better firefighters. Wayne, always looking for the value in others, never judged, always giving them a chance. His fellow firefighters know “Bear” as a reliable, dependable, selfless member of the company, going above and beyond to make sure his fellow firefighters were supported, never seeking accolades or recognition.

Wayne was a devoted family man, leaving behind his wife, Michele Brooks; children, Taylor Brooks and Dasia Vaughn; mother, Linda Brooks; brother, Jason Brooks; sister, Tiffany Brooks; nephew, Kaiden Brooks; and niece, Skylar Davis. Wayne was extremely proud of his daughters’ academic achievements. Dasia graduated from Ramapo College with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and Taylor graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in nursing.

Wayne had a passion for the Chicago Bears, horror movies, bowling, mountain biking, fishing, blackjack, and was an avid gamer. His gaming family was part of Michele and Wayne’s daily household life. One of Wayne’s favorite shows is The Walking Dead, and his home was known as the haven if ever there was an apocalypse. Family and friends looked forward to their epic gatherings year-round where there was music, good times, good food, and lots of love. Everyone was welcome at Michele and Wayne’s home.

Wayne left this world bravely doing what he loved, and we will forever hold him in our hearts as our Hero!

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