Cohnway Matthew Johnson

Cohnway Matthew Johnson

Cohnway knew at a very early age that he wanted to be a firefighter‚ which was evident by his drawings of fire engines. His great uncle‚ a chief in the Austin Fire Department had inspired him.

He was born October 04‚ 1982 in Austin‚ Texas‚ educated in Pflugerville schools‚ graduating from Pflugerville High School in 2001. He went to Steven F. Austin State University for one year‚ studying Forestry and Kinesiology. His heart wasn’t there so he came home and enrolled in the Taylor Fire Academy and Austin Community College from 08/03-05/04 making the President’s Honor Roll and a 4.0 GPA.

His career began with the Yoakum Fire/EMS Department from 11/04-05/06. Austin called him back to the Oak Hill Fire Department in Travis County from 05/06 until 05/09. He also worked part time for the Westlake Fire Department and the Manor Fire Department. Cohnway took every opportunity to grow professionally obtaining numerous certifications. He later became a part-time instructor with the Oak Hill Fire Academy. In April‚ 2009‚ he began his training with the Houston Fire Department.

Cohnway was the athletic one‚ always working out‚ lifting weights and running. He began early playing PEE-WEE baseball and football. However‚ when he first tried out for PEE-WEE football‚ he was told he was too overweight. Determined to play‚ he gave up snacks and he and his Dad started running the high school bleachers. He lost the necessary weight to play PEE-WEE football that year! He played football every year through high school.

Always a kid at heart‚ he loved being with his family‚ together enjoying year around camping. Cohnway loved any body of water; his favorite was in New Braunfels tubing down the Guadalupe River. In 1995 his Dad built a big bar-be-cue pit and started cooking competitively at area cook-offs. Thus began his love for cooking meats‚ always trying out new meat rubs‚ seasonings and marinades. He looked forward to his turn cooking for his brothers at the fire stations.

Anyone who knew him learned quickly that firefighting was his life. His brothers were the most important and influential in his life. He cherished every moment he shared with them‚ be it happy or sad. On his days off he was always talking about being at the station. He always said he was just as happy at the station as anywhere else he could be.

‘Sweetie‚’ you will forever be with us all‚ whose lives you touched. We are comforted knowing you are now with your heavenly brothers putting out heavenly fires and sharing heavenly stories. Our Son and Brother‚ we love you and miss you deeply. One day we will all be together again‚ until then Peace Out.

Harold M. Sparks

Harold M. Sparks

Harold M. Marty Sparks died in the line of duty on January 17‚ 2009‚ from a heart attack while operating a motor vehicle. He was a full-time career firefighter for the civilian fire department at Wright -Patterson Air Force Base.

Marty was born January 13‚ 1964. He graduated from Fayetteville High School and served four years in the United States Air Force.

He joined the Fayetteville Fire Department in Fayetteville‚ Ohio‚ as a junior cadet at age 14. At the time of his death‚ he was serving as Fayetteville’s assistant chief. His duties with the department included conducting inspections and participating in student education programs in the Fayetteville School District. He loved children.

Marty was a volunteer fishing coordinator at Kamp Dovetail in Highland County‚ taking special needs children fishing each year. He was an avid fan of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

He is survived by his wife‚ Ann Sparks; his parents‚ Harold and Patty Sparks; his sister‚ Pamela Daniel; his grandmother‚ Mertie Sullivan; and his aunt‚ Suzanne Wagner.

Marty Sparks was well known and well loved in the Fayetteville community. He liked to play practical jokes and was always smiling. He was a giving person who enjoyed helping people.

Steven ‘Peanut’ Koeser

Steven 'Peanut' Koeser

Peanut was born to Merlyn and Marie Koeser on April 15‚ 1976 in Wisconsin. He was the youngest of five. He had three brothers and one sister. Peanut lived with his long time girlfriend‚ Kelly Walesh‚ and their four-year-old daughter‚ Lexus Koeser. Peanut’s daughter was born on December 7‚ 2005. His infant son‚ Nathan Koeser‚ preceded him in death. Peanut was a proud father. His kids meant everything to him.

Peanut joined the St. Anna Fire Department at the age of 17 and was involved with the fire department for 16 years along with relatives and friends. He held the position of Lieutenant during his time of service. He loved being involved in the fire department because he loved that he was able to help his community and save people from harm. Peanut was a great leader. He was good at taking new members in and instructing proper procedures and training. Members of the fire department knew that he was a strong individual and felt confident working by his side. As most people know with a volunteer fire department there is a lot of maintenance and work to be done and he was always the go to guy willing to help out.

At Peanut’s time of death he was employed by Kees Incorporated and The Schad Bros LLC. Working at Kees he was able to work with the trades he loved such as welding and fabricating. He was employed at Kees for 14 years. He was crossed trained in all departments and able to complete all tasks. He would go above and beyond his job duties. Peanut worked part time for the Schad Bros LLC for eight years. Their business involves concrete flatwork. Peanut enjoyed working outdoors with the owners who were his long time friends. He was always willing to learn everything involved in the process of pouring and finishing concrete. This job was his pride and joy and he felt privileged being a part of it with his dear friends.

Peanut enjoyed spending time up in the Northwood’s of Wisconsin with his family at their cabin. He enjoyed going there for his weekend getaways. He would go up there to hunt‚ go four wheeling‚ snowmobiling and simple relaxation. He shot his first bear up there in the fall of 2009‚ which was something he was very proud of. His most favorite time was during the fall and winter months to go deer hunting with his father‚ brothers and friends.

At home‚ Peanut enjoyed spending time with his daughter. He enjoyed being outside‚ grilling out and having bonfires. He enjoyed the family and friend gatherings he would have at his home. When he purchased his home in Kiel‚ WI in 2006 he began an annual ritual of family and friends gathering to watch the town’s parade in his front yard. This is something that we will keep as a tradition in the coming years. He also enjoyed fixing up and remodeling his house. That was something he was very handy at.

Peanut was a jack-of-all-trades; there is nothing he could not figure out. He loved helping others.

Peanuts life ended at the young age of 33 but the memories will always be there for his friends and family. He will be dearly missed but we will all keep his spirit alive. He touched so many people’s lives and will never be forgotten. He had a heart of gold and is simply irreplaceable.

Daniel H. Yaklin

Lance Corporal Daniel H. Yaklin‚ age 21‚ of Maumee‚ Ohio‚ died Monday‚ September 4‚ 2000‚ in Yuma‚ Arizona‚ during a fire rescue training exercise with the U.S. Marines.

Dan attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help grade school and graduated from St. Francis de Sales High School in 1997. He attained the rank of lance corporal in the U.S. Marines and was a crash‚ fire‚ and rescue specialist.

Dan is survived by his parents‚ Ken and Judith Yaklin‚ and his siblings‚ Sara‚ Mary‚ Michael‚ and Elizabeth Yaklin. He is the nephew of Peggy and Pat Cunningham of Toledo‚ Ohio‚ Larry and Alice Yaklin‚ Bob and Irene Corlew‚ Steve and Jeannette Prax‚ and Judy and Gary Marten‚ all of Michigan. Also surviving are many cousins.

Joseph E. Juliano

Joseph E. Juliano

Born September 14‚ 1974‚ to Elizabeth and Daniel Juliano in Elizabeth‚ New Jersey‚ Joseph was the youngest of four children. He was always a happy child and was extremely close to his family. He was called the ‘All American Kid’ due to his love of sports‚ especially football. He played on the varsity football team for Elizabeth High School in New Jersey before graduating in 1992.

Joseph was a high-spirited‚ warm soul with a heart of gold that would lend a helping hand no matter where he was. He always had a beautiful smile on his face and made sure everyone around him did as well. His family meant everything to him‚ and he absolutely adored his nieces and nephew and always made sure to show it. He was very close to his family‚ and he loved them unconditionally. Joseph had many friends that he cherished‚ and everyone loved the person he was.

In 1993‚ Joseph decided to follow in his older brother’s footsteps and joined the United States Marine Corps. He served four years‚ then re-upped in 1997. He was stationed in Camp Lejeune‚ North Carolina. He was trained in Texas for HAZMAT firefighting‚ then at Yuma‚ Arizona‚ where he was an aircraft firefighting and rescue specialist. He finished his exams for firefighting and finished top in his class. Joe loved what he represented and was extremely proud to be an American.

On March 20‚ 1998‚ everyone who knew and loved Joseph now had a big piece of their heart missing. He was killed in an automobile accident during a training exercise in California. Surviving are his parents‚ Daniel and Elizabeth Juliano; two sisters‚ Sharon and Patricia; and brother‚ Daniel. A vital part of our lives was taken from us that day‚ and we still feel the heartache‚ but it is comforting to know that he is watching over us and his spirit is with us at all times.

He was an amazing person who would do anything for anyone. There is not one day that goes by that we do not think of him and give thanks for all the wonderful memories he gave us. Joe was full of life and lived each day to his fullest potential. He is truly missed‚ and we cannot wait until the day we will be with him again.

‘The guardian angels of life fly so high as to be beyond our sight‚ but they are always looking down upon us.’ -Jean Paul Richter

Robert M. Weber

Robert M. Weber

Robert M. Weber‚ Jr. was born August 4‚ 1981‚ to Robert‚ Sr. and Sue Weber in Fort Oglethorpe‚ Georgia. He married Amber (Hemsley) Weber on May 14‚ 2003. While the couple did not share any children of their own‚ Bobby became a loving parent to Amber’s daughter‚ Alexis‚ from day one. Bobby had many hobbies that he enjoyed‚ but none could top the 1972 Chevy Nova that he was working to restore.

Bobby joined the Marines in August of 2001‚ and went to Parris Island‚ South Carolina‚ to learn the skills necessary to become the best Marine he could. After leaving Parris Island‚ he went to North Carolina to learn Marine Combat Training. From there he would go to Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo‚ Texas‚ to learn the skills of becoming a firefighter. The time he spent in Goodfellow would shape him to become a leader‚ a friend‚ but most of all a dedicated firefighter. When Bobby left Texas he was sent back to where it all began in Beaufort‚ South Carolina‚ to the Marine Corps Air Station.

Bobby was kind to everyone he met including all the new Marines that came to Beaufort to be part of the crash fire rescue organization. He was as Sergeant. Major McBride said he was a Marine’s Marine. He took on challenges at full speed and never turned down the opportunity to do something new. He was not just a Marine‚ however; he was a family man. Bobby learned one of the greatest skills possible‚ and that was to separate the military life from family life. He and his wife would host many dinners so that all Marines would have the opportunity to get a home cooked meal away from home. Christmas of 2003‚ Bobby invited his entire section to share Christmas dinner with his family. Many of the Marines said that this dinner was as close to being home as many had been in years.

On August 16‚ 2004‚ God decided there was another path intended for Bobby and called him home. While he is greatly missed every day‚ anyone that knew him would know he would do whatever was needed or asked of him. He is remembered as a strong‚ caring‚ and devoted father and Marine. Not a day goes by that he is not remembered by anyone he touched.

Eric A. Tinkham

Eric A. Tinkham

Do you know your geography? Eric did‚ and he would always ask you‚ ‘What’s the capital of Thailand?’ And you’d better know it.

The shining life of Captain Eric Allan ‘Tink’ Tinkham began on January 9‚ 1965‚ in Rochester‚ Minnesota. Larry and Janice Tinkham brought into this world their first child‚ Eric Allan Tinkham. He soon had a little sister‚ Lynn‚ and a few years later a little brother‚ Thad.

In June 1981‚ Eric and his family moved from the cooler climate of North East to the hot desert of Gilbert‚ Arizona. Enrolling in Gilbert High School‚ he ditched many classes to spend time at the fire station. He received his GED and began working for Rural/Metro Fire Department as a reserve. Eric’s hard work and dedication got him a full-time position on a one-man engine company where he always gave 100%. ‘Tink‚’ as he’s known‚ became well respected with all agencies in the area.

Eric found a new life love in Judy and her 18-month-old daughter‚ Jessica. On June 19‚ 1991‚ Eric and Judy were married. Their family grew‚ with three beautiful girls‚ Taleah in 1993‚ Breahna in 1995‚ and Shania in 1999. Eric always worked hard to provide for his family; they were his number one priority.

Settling in Queen Creek‚ he continued working for Rural/Metro‚ becoming a paramedic‚ then soon being promoted to captain. Eric loved playing practical jokes on everyone; however‚ he always kept his word on what he said‚ especially when he said ‘soul brother‚’ meaning‚ ‘This is the truth‚ my brother.’ Eric always knew how to keep someone laughing even if they were hurting. If he wasn’t making you laugh he was stuffing you with his cooking.

Eric was very active within the community of Queen Creek‚ always supporting the high school sports programs‚ participating in many charity motorcycle rides‚ and helping to start the Queen Creek Firefighters Assistance Fund that would help community members in need after a tragedy‚

In January 2008‚ the little town of Queen Creek would form a new fire department. Eric left his 24 years of service with Rural/Metro behind and was hired as a paramedic captain. With the days of one-man trucks behind him‚ Eric was proud of his four-person crew and new red fire truck. He died doing what he loved to do.

Eric was a very proud husband‚ father‚ son and brother. He took pride in all he did as a firefighter‚ captain and paramedic. Judy said‚ ‘I am so proud and honored at what he did and all he stood for; he was a man’s man. We all loved him and knew him as that wonderful man‚ ‘Tink.’

Louis T. Osteen

Louis T. Osteen

Louis Osteen‚ 38 years old‚ died December 28 following a sudden heart attack. His family‚ friends and co-workers will remember him as a devoted family man‚ a tireless worker and a sportsman with a strong competitive spirit.

His family summed up Louis’ personality as ‘a man with a ‘can do’ attitude who was involved in many activities‚ especially those which helped better the community.’

Born March 11‚ 1945 in El Dorado‚ Texas‚ Osteen moved with his family to Del Rio in 1950. Graduating from Del Rio High School in 1963‚ Louis enlisted in the military‚ like many of his fellow classmates. He joined the Navy and was stationed aboard the USS Monticello off the coast of Vietnam. Returning to Del Rio in 1968‚ Osteen joined the Laughlin Air Force Base Fire Department as a firefighter.

‘Louis loved being a fireman.’

Osteen’s love for his work showed up in the many awards and commendations he received while at Laughlin Air Force Base (LAFB). He was named fireman of the month in July‚ 1982 and fireman of the quarter for the period July-September‚ 1982. Osteen was named firefighter of the Year-1982 for the 47th Civil Engineering Squadron.

His competitive spirit and leadership were evident when he was captain of the firefighting team‚ which participated in the Texas Military Fire Fighters Competition. The LAFB crew won the state championship in the pumper races twice in a row under Osteen’s leadership.

Receiving a Sustained Superior Performance Award in September‚ 1982‚ Osteen’s superiors were glowing their recommendations. Robert A. Grenan‚ Assistant Fire Chief wrote that‚ ‘Mr. Osteen has performed all his assigned duties in an outstanding manner exceeding requirements in his job performance appraisalƒHis job knowledge‚ ability and his demonstrated capabilities have been very instrumental in obtaining and maintaining a high standard of proficiency in the operational branch of the fire department.

His personality and leadership are outstanding in working with people. His reputation is well established and he is admired and respected for his ability and willingness to assist/serve in any manner possible. His quality work‚ productive efforts and superior performance were but a few attributes for his selection as Firefighter of the Month and Supervisor of the Quarter. A prime example of his capabilities was evident during the 2nd Annual Texas Military Firefighter’s Competition. His demonstrated willingness to win and prove that he had the best firefighting crew in the state of Texas earned him outstanding recognition by his peers and supervisors.’

Base Fire Chief Ruben E. Whatley echoed the recommendations‚ writing ‘Mr. Osteen’s (GS-7 Firefighter Leader/Station Chief) knowledge and experience in fire protection is outstanding and he is a great asset to the fire Protection Branch.’

Lt. Col. Harvey Manekofsty‚ Base Civil Engineer also recommended Osteen for the award. ‘He is a dedicated conscientious supervisor who demonstrates outstanding capabilities in all aspects of job performance. He has a high degree of professionalism both on the job and towards the Wing mission. He is most capable and willing to undertake any task with a ‘can do’ attitude in all endeavors.’

On October 23‚ 1983 Osteen received a ‘Certificate of Service’ for 20 years of faithful federal service. In March‚ 1983 he received a cash award for a suggestion which saved the base man hours and fuel.

Osteen was also deeply involved in community activities. He was a volunteer for the Del Rio Fire Department for 10 years and was named an Honorary Life Member of the department.

He was an instructor for the Red Cross and certified as an Emergency Medical Technician. He was attending Laredo Jr. College‚ studying Fire Science.

A deeply devoted family man‚ Osteen spent much of his time with his sons. He volunteered as an assistant Scout Master Troop 279 & Troop 255. He was a member of the Order of the Arrow-Scout Troop Member 279. He also volunteered to work for the Annual 4-H show.

His competitive spirit passed down to his three sons‚ Roger‚ Ricky and T.H. They were all avid sports enthusiasts; the boys participated in sports while in school. They were also rodeo participants‚ which their father greatly encouraged and supported. He was also a member of the Ram All-Sports Booster Club.

He was an outdoorsman who loved to haunt and fish‚ and he was in the process of building an adobe house on his ranch when he passed away.

On a more personal note‚ this reporter remembers Louis as a neighbor and exploring companions. As youngsters‚ Louis was always the one who organized the games we played. Intensely competitive‚ he always played to win‚ whether at monopoly‚ marbles or baseball.

His idea of a good time was to go ‘exploring.’ With an insatiable curiosity‚ he wanted to know the name of each plant‚ rock‚ what kind of animals made certain tracks‚ where did the water go when it went underground and so on. His curiosity‚ enthusiasm and energetic ‘desire to know‚’ never abated even into adulthood. As one friend remarked‚ ‘Louis lived life to its fullest.’

A Mason‚ member of Helios Lodge no. 49‚ Louis will be missed by all who loved him in the community‚ friends as well as family. He was a positive influence in our town and his many accomplishments will be long remembered by all who knew him.

He is survived by his wife Ramona‚ Roger‚ Rickey and T.H. Del Rio. 4 grandchildren Louis T. Mathew‚ Brian and Megan Osteen

Monex Thomas

Airman First Class Monex Thomas of the Blytheville Air Force Base died in an aircraft training incident on August 1‚ 1982.

Ray Rangel

Ray  Rangel

Staff Sgt Ray Rangel of San Antonio‚ Texas was born to Federico and Cynthia Rangel‚ Jr. He was taken away from his family on February 13‚ 2005‚ at the age of 29 while on a rescue mission in Balad‚ Iraq. Staff Sgt Ray died doing what he loved to do – helping others when they were in need.

Staff Sgt Rangel attended South San Antonio High School where he played defensive back on the football team and was known as ‘Crazy Ray.’ That name fit his image perfectly because he was always playing jokes and he got along with everyone. Even as a teenager‚ Ray had been a selfless leader. He paid for his two younger sisters’ school clothes one year when his parents hit hard times. For a young man his age to think of others made him even more special.

Ray graduated in 1994 and enlisted in the Air Force. He got married and had 4 children‚ and settled in Abilene where bought a house. He was deployed for the last time to Iraq in late September 2004‚ having to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas apart from his family for the very first time in his life. This was very difficult‚ because whenever he was deployed he always made it back for the holidays.

Ray served as a firefighter for over 9 years‚ serving last with the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron. He attended the Department of Defense Lewis F. Garland Fire Academy at Goodfellow AFB‚ Texas. His advanced training included: Airport Crash Firefighting‚ Silent War (Infectious Diseases)‚ Nuclear‚ Biological and Chemical Domestic Preparedness (Awareness Level)‚ Emergency Response to Terrorism‚ Emergency Response to Domestic Biological Incidents Operations Level (WMD)‚ Terrorism Response/Emergency Care‚ and Critical Incident Stress Management (Basic). His career took him to Lackland AFB‚ Texas; Goodfellow AFB‚ Texas; Spangdahlem AFB‚ Germany; Whiteman AFB‚ Missouri; Clear AFB‚ Alaska; and Dyess AFB‚ Texas. His awards and decorations include: the AF Training Ribbon‚ Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon (Rifle)‚USAF NCO PME Graduate Ribbon‚ AF Longevity Service (1 device)‚ AF Overseas Ribbon Long‚ AF Overseas Ribbon Short‚ Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal‚ Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (1 device)‚ National Defense Service Medal (1 device)‚ AF Good Conduct Medal (3 devices)‚ AF Outstanding Unit Award (2 devices)‚ and Air Force Achievement Medal (2 devices ). Ray also has two awards named in his honor: Staff Sgt Ray Rangel Award and the Ray Rangel Noncommissioned Officer Award which is given to fellow airmen in the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing that epitomize the selfless courage that he displayed. An American Legion was also renamed to Ray Rangel Post 399.

Even though he has been gone for 5 years‚ Staff Sgt. Ray Rangel is greatly missed and remembered as the firefighter who risked his own life for the sake of helping others.