John Jacob Curry was born in DeLand on December 22‚ 1976‚ at West Volusia Memorial Hospital. He graduated from Taylor T. Dewitt Middle High School in Pierson in 1995. Curry pursued his goal of becoming a firefighter by receiving his emergency medical technician certification in March 2006 and completing his certificate of compliance in fire standards and training in September 2006.
Curry began his employment with Volusia County Fire Services as a firefighter/emergency medical technician on January 6‚ 2007 and was currently assigned to DeLeon Springs Station 41. He was accepted to the Volusia County Wildland Fire Response Team‚ the Firewalker’s on November 13‚ 2007. Curry passed away on November 27‚ 2007.
J.J. by Kristen Curry
Tonight two candles flicker on either side‚ I’m reminded of my friend. A friend that had no enemy’s‚ no…not even one. Everyone loved and respected my friend and knew no others like him‚ A friend that always had open arms‚ and a shoulder to cry on. He didn’t always know what to say‚ but what he did say came from the heart.
Tonight two candles flicker on either side‚ I’m reminded of my husband. He had a warm smile and a gentle touch. He lit two candles every night to remind me of his love. There’s not a night that goes by‚ I don’t hear the whispers‚ ‘I Love You’
Tonight two candles flicker on either side‚ I’m reminded of a father. In a hospital room three years ago. I could see a man‚ holding his newborn son. As he stared into the baby’s eyes‚ I could see his world was standing still. I knew he would be world’s greatest Dad‚ and he was … He looked up and gave me a smile. We knew we were blessed.
Tonight two candles flicker on either side‚ I glance to the left‚ to see a closet full of clothes. I glance to the right‚ to see a book half read. A pair of shorts lay at my feet‚ with a belt still intertwine. Above‚ I see a wedding picture with an unfinished story. Next to me an empty space like the one in my heart.
Tonight two candles flicker on either side‚ I’m reminded of my son‚ friends‚ and family. The empty space will never be filled. but a new space has been made and is beginning to fill. I can’t tell you all the people I’ve met in the past few months‚ but I do know there are so many people that love and care about my family. I’m so grateful.
Thank you‚ from the bottom of our heart and God Bless.
Love‚ Kristen and Owen Curry
Submitted by his Uncle
JJ was only in the fire service full time 10 months before his tragic accident. He was not in the fire service long enough.
JJ was interested in learning everything there is to learn about fire fighting. He would have moved up the ranks very fast as he absorbed information‚ learning like a sponge.
He is survived by his son of 3 1/2 years soon to be 4.
JJ always called and asked my advice when it came to fire fighting as well as letting me know where he going or what he was doing when it came to his profession. He loved his job and I was his mentor all the time until the time of his death.
I will miss our talks about fire fighting. I was looking forward to more of our talks when I retired and that is what I will miss the most about him‚ our talks.
To have an impact on one life is remarkable – To touch many is a miracle! Klif did just that!
Karl ‘Klif’ Kramer‚ 22‚ died of heat stroke on May 28‚ 2005 after collapsing during a training run. At 6’4’‚ a gentle giant of a man‚ Klif was the friend that you could always count on. He was proud of becoming a member of the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department and being able to follow in his fathers footsteps. He used to spend hours with his Dad planning the next steps in his career and discussing the different options in firefighting. He was on the road to achieving a life long dream.
Klif lived life to the fullest. He loved playing sports but playing softball was his favorite. Especially when playing with his dad and cousins. He was a member of several church‚ fire department and city teams. When not playing ball he was playing cards or visiting friends. He just loved being with others. Klif had a sense of humor and a unique ability to know just when to use it. At Halloween he will always be remembered as ‘Shrek’ and how closely he resembled the character’s personality – not to mention the costume he made each year.
Klif was the son that any mother and father would be proud to have. He was idolized by his little brothers and loved by his friends. We were truly blessed to have a son like Klif and so very proud of all he accomplished in such a short time. Our world is a better place because of him and we miss him dearly.
Submitted by his Captain
Firefighter Kliff Kramer‚ IV was recently hired as a probationary firefighter with our department. He was very active with his church and youth group.
Frank ‘Frankie’ Joseph Kucera‚ 42‚ Lieutenant‚ Seminole County Fire Department‚ passed away on May 27‚ 2005 when he suffered a heart attack after a day of training‚ which he always loved. He became part of the SCFD family on June 15‚ 1981 and during its history‚ Frank was the first firefighter to pass away in the line of duty.
Frankie’s 1st firefighting job started with the Longwood Fire Department in 1980 where he was a part-time firefighter. He was with them for about 10 months. Frankie also received his Law Enforcement certificate in 1983 where he was a reserve police officer for Longwood PD up until 1990 when he was promoted to Lieutenant for SCFD. Through out his years with SCFD he received many awards and certificates‚ he was always taking classes to continue his education and he was a member of the High Angle Rescue Team. He also accomplished many hours in flying lessons to become a pilot. In 2002‚ he was promoted to the SHOT team.
Frankie always lived life to its fullest and would recruit all of those around him to do the same through his exceptional leadership skills and more importantly‚ his sense of humor. He enjoyed spending time with Chyanne (stepdaughter) and wife going boating‚ camping‚ 4 wheeling‚ riding bikes‚ snow skiing‚ taking vacations‚ scuba diving and spending time with friends golfing‚ fishing‚ hunting and riding motorcycles.
His wife and stepdaughter are truly blessed to have had him in their lives‚ no matter how short the time. He was and will always be their hero.
Submitted by his parents
Frank J. Kucera was born in Naha‚ Okinawa in 1962‚ where his father was stationed in the United States Air Force. He grew up in Seminole County‚ Florida. Still a senior in High School‚ Frank attended the Seminole Community College-Seminole County Fire Training Academy. Upon Graduation in 1980 from Lake Brantley High School and Seminole County Fire Academy he was hired‚ first as a Reserve Motorcycle Patrol Officer with Longwood Police Department‚ then as a Firefighter for the City of Longwood Fire Department in Seminole County‚ Florida. In 1981 Frank transferred to the Seminole County Fire Department where in 1990 was promoted to Lieutenant‚ in 2002 Frank was promoted to the Departments Special Hazard and Operations Team. Frank was respected‚ admired and loved by his fellow firefighters for his dedication to the job‚ his wonderful sense of humor and the twinkle in his eyes.
Frank had a real zest for life‚ at the age of 22 he was diagnosed with Cancer and was very ill. With all the love and support of his family‚ friends and fellow firefighters he fought back and after a lengthy recovery returned to work and excelled in his job. His love for life was infectious. He loved his family‚ riding motorcycles‚ hunting‚ scuba diving‚ boating‚ fishing‚ skiing‚ and golf. He loved the outdoors‚ socializing and staying home watching movies with his friends.
Frank wanted to be a firefighter his whole life. As a little boy‚ he ran around his house wearing a red fireman’s helmet telling his mom and dad that he was going to be a fireman when he grew up. He really loved his job and would not have traded it for anything else in the world. He was a good son‚ a caring friend and a kind man who is terribly missed by those who loved him; they wouldn’t have traded him for anything else in the world. Although‚ Frank J. Kucera’s life was too short‚ he lived a very full one and he died doing the thing he loved most in the world‚ being a Firefighter.
Henry was a very friendly man and loved by all the people he met. Dedicated husband for 14 years of marriage. A firm worker for 17 years with the Division of Forestry in Hilliard‚ Florida. He loved life and lived it to the fullest by getting involved in football‚ weightlifting and track. He also coached JV football.
While working with the Division of Forestry‚ he traveled to North and South Dakota‚ Montana‚ Wyoming and Colorado to help with wildfires. He also worked with the recovery team of the space shuttle in Texas. While in Arizona‚ Henry worked with the Cherokee Indians. He completed various courses in Forestry to further his education. Henry loved being outdoors – fishing and hunting were just a few hobbies he enjoyed. Being a Forestry Fire Fighter was his way to care for the earth. Nature was his way of living.
Beloved husband of Laurie‚ caring father of daughters Samantha and Olivia. Cherished brother of Jeannie‚ Jim‚ Wayne and Richard.
Born on the Gulf Coast of southern Alabama‚ Robert had been a resident of Gulf Breeze‚ Fla for the past 16 years. He was baptized as an ordained minister‚ one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1991. He regularly shared his knowledge of the Bible and God’s promises for the future‚ with others.
Laurie and Robert began dating after getting to know each other while they worked together at the county ambulance station. February 13‚ 1991 they were married. Their daughter Samantha was born in 1995 and Olivia followed in 1998.
Quick witted‚ famous for his one liners‚ his sense of humor and infectious laughter brightened our days. He was a hands-on kind of guy and a loving father to his two girls. He was an attentive and devoted husband to Laurie. Together they were raising their children to love and serve Jehovah God.
Robert was very thoughtful and helpful with his family‚ friends‚ neighbors‚ and coworkers. Whenever he saw a way to assist he didn’t hesitate‚ he just jumped right in and got involved.
He had 24 years experience in the Emergency Medical Field‚ the last two years as a firefighter/paramedic with South Walton Fire Department. Robert was a conscientious and selfless worker at his chosen vocation. His work as fireman/paramedic gave him the opportunity to show his compassionate nature and concern for others in need of help. He also had a great mutual respect for all of his brother firefighters and those in the medical community.
Robert’s AirHeart 1 Helicopter went down on 10/20/04 while responding to a call. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him and by the community he served. We are comforted by the knowledge that he is in the loving memory of his God‚ Jehovah and will be reunited with us in the future.
Benjamin Matthew Lang was born on October 2‚ 1981. A quiet child‚ full of wonder‚ he was destined for greatness. A celebrated athlete‚ he graduated from Lake Wales High School in 2000. He was a member of Hope Presbyterian Church. He attended Ridge Vocation/Technical Center where he completed his Minimum Fire Standards for Professional Firefighting. He joined Polk County Fire Department in July 2001. He later attended night classes at Valencia College and obtained his EMT Certification. He was so proud of the fact that by the age of 20 he had bought his first home. He had a promising career with the fire department and looked forward to going back to school to become a Paramedic as well.
Ben loved to play football and baseball with his friends. He was an avid weightlifter. This led to many ‘in-house’ competitions with the veterans at the fire station. He collected baseball and football cards‚ comic boooks and action figures. He had a strong faith in God and an ardent love for his family.
He was the most honest person you could ever know. He was neither pretentious nor fake. If you were his friend‚ you were his friend for life. Bigger than life‚ reserved and shy‚ Ben had such a gentle spirit. One of the best stories about him was told by his fellow firefighters. During Hurricane Charley‚ the weather conditions had become too dangerous for emergency vehicles to be on the roads. All of the firemen were at the station watching the storm through the open bay doors. A dove‚ trying to ride out the storm in a nearby tree fell to the ground unable to fly to safety. All of the men stood around trying to decide what to do when Ben came out dressed in his yellow rain gear. He went out in the storm to rescue the little bird. Successful on the second attempt he placed the bird in a dry corner of the truck bay on a towel. Eventually as the storm subsided the little dove flew away. This was the kind of person Ben was. It is no wonder his chosen path in life was to give of himself. He chose‚ like so many other men and women to lay his life on the line‚ no fear‚ no questions asked‚ to help others.
On August 23‚ 2004 Ben was working overtime for another firefighter when the call came in for medical response to a seizure victim. When the fire truck pulled up on the scene the Paramedics asked if one of the firemen would ride in the ambulance to help stabilize the patient in route to the hospital. Ben hopped in the back of the ambulance like he had done so many times before. This would be the last call Ben would ever go on. On the way to the hospital the ambulance driver lost control in the rainy weather and crashed.
Ben believed as I do the reason for our lives on this earth are to become the people we are to be in our next life. The human race is too complex too spiritual for this life to be all there is. I am very proud of the man Ben had become. I know he is somewhere else and I know I will see him again. Benjamin was not only my son he was one of my best friends. In his quiet way he taught me to follow my dreams‚ to stand tall to never give up and never give in. I hope those who read this letter will take time out to reflect‚ not only on whom Ben was but who you are and who you want to be. Nothing is certain in this life we live. One never knows what day will be the last on this earth. The only sure thing we can count on is ourselves‚ the spirit within us.
As a fitting memorial to his life the Benjamin M. Lang Scholarship Fund was created through Polk Community College to help another young person follow their dream. It is comforting to know Ben’s dream will be kept alive although through someone else. Ben had accomplished so much in his short life. It has been said ‘Ben was not only our Hero‚ he was our Super Hero!’ He will be forever loved and never forgotten.
The ‘Mack-Daddy’ got his nickname from his fellow firefighters. The name came about because of his strong English accent. While all the guys always had problems understanding what the heck he was saying‚ the girls loved his accent. Needless to say the ‘Mack-Daddy’ never had any problems when it came to ‘the ladies.’
David Mackie was born in Orlando‚ FL and moved to the Deltona area in 1987 from Dovercourt‚ England. He began his fire career as a volunteer firefighter at Station 31‚ when he was only seventeen. ‘Mack-Daddy’ was known around the firehouse for his humor‚ jokes‚ and his easy-going‚ fun-loving attitude. After being nominated ‘Secretary’ for the volunteer firefighters fund at Station 31‚ he took a lot of ribbing about being a male secretary so David took action. He arrived at the next quarterly meeting in a blue dress with black polka dots and had the whole room roaring with laughter! This is just one of the many jokes Dave pulled on the guys. Even after being appointed to Lieutenant and given new responsibilities‚ he still found a way to be ‘just one of the guys.’
After years with the fire department David went to work for EVAC Ambulance‚ where he became lead medic. David made a lot of friends during his time at EVAC and will always be remembered for his kindness‚ thoughtfulness‚ and selfless doing for others. ‘Mack-Daddy’ spent about eight years with EVAC and working as a medic for The Daytona International Speedway; before he decided to go back to the fire department as a firefighter paramedic.
David was at the Training Academy working toward completion of his fire standards certification when he passed away. Though he was taken from us his memory will live on in each of us‚ for we all have our own unique memories of the wonderful man who was‚ indeed‚ the ‘Mack-Daddy.’
‘For some life lasts a short while‚ but the memories it holds last forever.’
David is survived by his mother‚ Cynthia‚ sister‚ Jane‚ currently living in Deltona‚ Florida‚ brother‚ Keith currently residing in Kissimmee‚ Florida‚ brother‚ Robert who lives in Jacksonville‚ Florida and his nieces and nephews who all currently reside in Florida.
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