Shane M. Kelly was a 26 year old firefighter/ EMT. On June 8th Shane and his wife Rachel were traveling on the Florida turnpike when they came across a couple trapped in their crashed and overturned vehicle. Working diligently alongside others through a torrential rainstorm he attempted to free the injured newlywed couple in the crushed vehicle. A tractor trailer lost control and crashed into the rescuers‚ killing Shane and a local doctor and injuring others.
Shane did not receive this call over the radio‚ it was not in his jurisdiction‚ nor was he on the clock. That is what makes Shane’s story unique‚ the absence of these elements that make him a hero. The forces that prompted him to pull off the road were not driven by a paycheck or obligation‚ but a deeper sense of duty. Shane died like he lived: Helping Others.
Shane was Vice-President of Union Local 3476‚ and when not at the fire department he spent most of his free time in the outdoors hunting and fishing with friends and his father-in-law.
Because of his heroic actions Shane has been given numerous awards and honors posthumously:
Florida Fire Chiefs Award of Excellence in EMT/Rescue Department of Florida VFW Outstanding Firefighter City of Oviedo Firefighter of the Year City of Oviedo Medal of Valor Sumter County Medal of Honor IAFF Medal of Honor American Red Cross Certificate of Recognition for Extraordinary Personal Action The city of Oviedo has named a park after Shane A scholarship fund has been established in his name Letters of recognition from governor Jeb Bush and many state and local political leaders
When 32-year old Lt. John K. Mickel told someone that he was a firefighter/paramedic‚ he wasn’t just telling them of his chosen vocation‚ he was telling them‚ in large part‚ who he was. Firefighting was his way of life.
He strove to excel from the onset of his nine-year career. He graduated from the Central Florida Fire Academy in the top ten of his class and received the highest score on his Physical Agility test. He volunteered to gain experience and was hired in 1993 by Osceola County/Fire Rescue. After being hired‚ John continued his education to help better serve residents and businesses of his community. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1997.
Fellow firefighters describe him as being a great leader: dedicated‚ brave‚ and someone who always put 120% effort into whatever he did.
John was a proud member of Osceola Local 3284 and the FOOLS. He attended several Fire Department Instructors Conferences in Indianapolis‚ Indiana.
Above all‚ though‚ he was a dedicated husband and father who took great pride in his family. He left behind his wife of nearly eight years‚ Carlotta‚ and their two young children‚ Dillon and Mallory. John learned the importance of family early in his life from his parents‚ Keith and Catherine Mickel‚ and sister Meredith.
After God‚ family and firefighting‚ John loved salt water fishing‚ especially in his 13 _ foot ‘offshore’ Boston Whaler. He was an avid outdoorsman who also enjoyed surfing‚ hunting‚ scuba diving and sports.
John had presence. If there was a group of people‚ he was usually in the middle of them. A true Irishman‚ he was the life of the party‚ never leaving without talking to everyone and usually the last to leave.
He lost his life in a flashover while participating in a live burn training exercise on July 30‚ 2002.
John always said‚ ‘You have to be happy.’ And he set the example for those who knew him by living life to the fullest and loving just as much.
Neil was the ultimate public servant. A volunteer firefighter since he was 13 years old‚ a sheriff’s deputy for 8 years‚ and a nationally-registered EMT the last year and a half.
At the age of 11‚ he was following the firefighters around the station in Destin‚ Florida. At the age of 12‚ he became a junior firefighter‚ and by 14 he was the Lieutenant of the junior firefighters. Neil stayed with the Destin Fire Department for many years‚ becoming a paid firefighter after he graduated from high school.
Public service was a big part of his life after his family. Neil had three children‚ Kathryn‚ Cody‚ and Molly‚ and two stepchildren‚ Ashley and Brandon. He was a great father and a great husband to his wife Cindy. Neil was always giving of his time and his abilities‚ rarely thinking of himself. Thirty-two years was not enough time for all that he had to give.
Dallas B. Begg‚ 20‚ career firefighter‚ Osceola County Fire-Rescue‚ Kissimmee‚ died July 30‚ 2002‚ when a flashover occurred during a live burn training exercise. Two firefighters died in this incident. Begg completed the Emergency Medical Technology course at Valencia Community College and 450 hours of training at the Central Florida Fire Academy. He had been on the job with Osceola County for only eight days.
Dallas is someone who tried to find the best in everyone he met.
Rupert A. Fuller‚ 76‚ volunteer firefighter‚ Darlington-Gaskin Fire Department‚ Westville‚ died October 24‚ 2002‚ from an aneurysm after becoming ill on the scene of an EMS call four days earlier. He was very active with the department‚ attended any training provided‚ and was the expert on the compressed air foam truck the department had recently acquired. Fuller operated a country store for 30 years‚ where he once kept the area’s first fire truck gassed up and ready to go.
Brian Reed‚ 39‚ career firefighter/EMT‚ West Manatee Fire & Rescue‚ Holmes Beach‚ died April 10‚ 2001‚ from injuries sustained from a fall at the department. He began as a volunteer with Anna Maria Fire District‚ and became a career firefighter in 1995.
He was a certified electrician and dedicated blood donor. He liked to be where the action was and served for eight years in the Marine Corps. He and his wife exchanged their wedding vows at the fire station.
He was reliable‚ dependable‚ honest‚ and hardworking.
Born 12-26-35 in Toledo‚ Ohio. Died 2-7-01 Dunnellon FL. Attended schools in Ohio and college in Toledo‚ Ohio. Six years in Army Signal Corps‚ stationed in Germany. Father of 4 girls and had 3 grandsons. Played varsity football in school and played accordion at square dances. Was a machinist by trade. Owned a T.V. shop in Sebring‚ Florida‚ where he worked with civil defense and local law enforcement as a specialist on recovering evidence with his metal detecting skills. He was honored by the Sebring News with a write-up in Who’s Who in City‚ for his time given to local youth organizations‚ and HALLO handicap organization.
When he retired‚ he moved to Dunnellon‚ Florida‚ where he delivered Meals on Wheels‚ and joined Marion County Fire Department as a support volunteer. Along with his wife Jean‚ he was stationed at #5 in Florida Highlands‚ where they lived.
Linda Hernandez‚ 37‚ career firefighter/EMT‚ Miami-Dade Fire Rescue‚ died September 18‚ 2001‚ from complications related to injuries sustained earlier in the line of duty. She was a correctional officer for 13 years before joining the fire department in 1997. After her injury‚ she was often in the hospital‚ but continued to study to keep her EMT certification up-to-date until her death.
She was a fighter‚ a person who loved life and people.
Darryl Dzugen‚ 36‚ career captain‚ Hillsborough County Fire Rescue‚ Tampa‚ died August 29‚ 2001‚ while working a 24-hour shift. He joined the fire service as an Explorer at age 12. In 1983‚ following in his father’s footsteps‚ Dzugen became a volunteer firefighter with the Brandon Fire District. He began his career with Hillsborough 2 years later. He was involved in the department’s training and was coordinator of Hillsborough Community College’s fire science program.
Jack ‘Kit’ Barker‚ 45‚ Driver/Engineer‚ City of Tampa Fire Rescue‚ died January 21‚ 2001‚ as a result of complications of Hepatitis C‚ which he contracted in the line of duty.
He began his service to his country by joining the Army in 1973. He then joined the Tampa Fire Department in 1978. At any station he was always known as a phenomenal cook. In 1999‚ Jack founded the Krewe of St. Florian (Patron Saint of Firefighters) in order to provide opportunities for community service.
While taking care of his wife and two daughters‚ Jack found time to go back to college. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business‚ with honors‚ and was awarded his diploma posthumously. He was also an avid hunter‚ fisherman and golfer.
Jack could also be found volunteering at his church and his daughters’ schools. He always put his family first and greeted everyone with a smile.
‘When a man is a husband‚ father and a firefighter‚ it is impossible for him to form a thought without the three being connected.’
‘It is not how he died that made him a hero…it is how he lived.’
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