KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Three names were added Kansas City’s firefighter memorial fountain Friday. COVID-19 killed all three.
The virus has become just another risk that firefighters must face in helping others.
Firefighters and other first responders gathered at the memorial Friday to honor the three victims of the pandemic.
Fire Chief Donna Lake said many others in the fire department have contracted COVID-19 and survived.
Some have lingering effects, and no one is sure how the disease may impact their lives in the long term.
But for the three who paid the ultimate price, firefighters said it’s a painful reminder to do whatever it takes to keep themselves and others they serve safe.
“We are our own keeper,” said Clay Calvin, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3808. “We have to keep our gear on. We have to take the precautions to take care of ourselves. Wear that mask a little bit longer. Put a facepiece on the patient. Try to protect yourselves.”
In previous years, firefighters have honored comrades who have died from trauma, cancer and suicide.
But it’s been COVID-19, which continues to take lives that could be prevented through vaccination, that frustrate many people.
So far more than 652,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.