KCFD remembers three members who died from COVID-19

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been one year since two Kansas City Firefighters died a day apart from COVID-19.

Captain Robert “Bobby” Rocha was 60-years-old and a 29-year veteran on the department.

Scott Davidson was 45-years-old and a member of KCFD for 18 years.

Their names were added to the Firefighter Memorial this year, along with EMT Billy Birmingham who died from the virus before Rocha and Davidson.

“It’s sad for the families and it’s sad for everybody who worked with these guys,” KCFD Assistant Fire Chief Jimmy Walker said.

Firefighters have put their lives on the line for years and have dealt with many causes of death, but COVID-19 has become another risk they face every day.

“It’s kind of rough to see how this pandemic has taken a toll on our members mentally, physically because you just don’t know how you’re going to react if you do get sick,” Walker said.

This time last year the fire department lost Rocha and Davidson.

“The hardest part is missing his hugs and his laughter,” Terri Rocha McWilliams, Rocha’s Sister, said.

McWilliams said the past year has not been easy for the family, but their faith has helped them persevere.

“And all those people reaching out and their sweet sentiments all through the year and even until today were very helpful for us,” McWilliams said.

She said at the time her brother got COVID-19, health leaders didn’t know much about the virus, but now things have changed.

Walker said he thinks the line of duty deaths, influenced the department’s almost 80% vaccination rate.

“And I think it just hit home for them,” Walker said. “They saw people that they worked with, and they cared about who didn’t make it through this pandemic and when they saw something that they could do to fight back they took it upon themselves to do that.”

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