Family reflects on selfless legacy of Kansas City EMT who died from coronavirus

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KANSAS CITY, Mo — The Firefighter Fountain is the only fountain flowing in Kansas City. It was turned on Tuesday during a ceremony to honor EMT Billy Birmingham, who died Monday of COVID-19.

Birmingham was one of 24 children, was the father of seven, had over a dozen grandchildren and a handful of great-grandchildren. There are a lot of people who miss him.

“When it comes to my father, I think the word that has been expressed the most is selflessness,” Birmingham’s son Bill said. “I love my dad. I miss my dad.”

This family man left behind a great legacy. He taught his children to give from the heart without expecting anything in return, the importance of honorable morals and ethics and he was fun, too.

“That’s one of the biggest things I remember about my childhood is that my dad made sure we enjoyed it,” daughter Octavia Standley said. “He loves to bowl, he loves to go fishing. We went with him all the time even if we were better than him.”

Birmingham was a father who took his children on surprise trips, spent time teaching his kids about nature and sports and showed them his Christian beliefs.

“One of the best memories I have of my dad is probably waking up in the middle of the night and hearing him praying in the living room,” Bill said. “I think if I didn’t learn anything, I’ve learned about a relationship with Christ because of that.”

Billy Birmingham was known as Pastor Birmingham to the people at Agape Love Ministries where he and his brother Bishop John Birmingham sometimes preached together.

In fact, it was the last place the two saw each other just two weeks before Birmingham’s death.

“When I seen him, I was somewhat troubled at his appearance, but I didn’t think nothing of it. I just left until the bad news came,” John said.

John couldn’t finish telling FOX4 about the trip to Africa he and his brother were planning this year to spread the word of God.

“I want you to come with me to Africa,” John remembered telling his little brother. “What you preach and they way you love people, you will be — God have mercy.”

It’s a tough loss for this family, Birmingham’s church and the Kansas City community.

“He really touched people, and the Bible says you will know my disciples because they have loved one for another and he loved people and people loved him,” Bill said.

Officials believe Birmingham contracted the virus through his job as an EMT, on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

His family is asking the public to honor Birmingham by staying home. If you have to go out, they ask everyone to wear masks and practice social distancing to help stop the spread and protect those who protect us.

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