Some say “Never Forget”, others say “Always Remember”. Either way, we will Remember Lt. Ed Walsh and FF Michael Kennedy and we will not Forget about their death. This article is to help you realize how they Lived and how we (the fire service) should Remember them.
The impact of firefighters dying in the line of duty last for a long time. Locally its effects are the hardest. However, firefighters around the World deal with the loss as one of their own. Some firefighters relate to it differently. Due to the nature of this blog, the stories I read, cover, and are involved in, I often get wrapped up in sharing news and information for others.
I do my best to offer the best news and information in a timely manner, projecting “official” information from the departments involved and local news media.
Then it happens…I take a breathe and realize the gravity of the situation. It usually hits me the same way each time, but without warning. Today it happened for me in relation to our Brothers lost in Boston. Read this article, and it will probably hit you in the gut like it did me.
If you look across Facebook, you will learn about the lives of Lt. Ed Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy. They were good men. They were firefighters. However, they were so much more than that…to so many more people. Read on…
Lt. Walsh, 43, was married and had two sons and a daughter under the age of 10. He lived in West Roxbury and his father is a Watertown firefighter. He had been on the job for 9.5 years. (on the right in the picture to the left)
FF Kennedy, 33, had been on the job for 6.5 years and was assigned to Ladder 15. He was a USMC veteran and lived in Hyde Park. (on the left in the picture to the left)
They have names, they have families, they have stories. Some of those stories are unraveling for the rest of the World to learn. Some of those stories are below. Other stories learned are how our Brotherhood reacts to the loss of our own. Some of those stories are shared below as well.
There will be two separate memorial/funeral services for Lt. Ed Walsh and FF Michael Kennedy in the middle of next week. More information will be shared once it is available.
After speaking to some of Walsh’s colleagues Thursday, Governor Deval Patrick said it was clear that Ed was a “quintessential family man,” and he “lived his whole life as a leader by example.”
Walsh came from a firefighting family; both his father and uncle were fire lieutenants in nearby Watertown.
Lieutenant Walsh had been with the Boston Fire Department for nine and a half years. He was stationed at Engine 33/Ladder 15, just blocks from the fire, at 941 Boylston Street.
Finn described him as a “very competent fire officer. Took his men under his wing and was very, very hands-on.”
Mike Kennedy had been with the Boston Fire Department for six and a half years. The 33-year-old Marine combat veteran served in Iraq and lived in Hyde Park; he was not married.
Kennedy was a fitness and Crossfit enthusiast. He was also very involved in the fire department’s burn foundation, which helps raise money for burn victims.
Last April, Kennedy was a first responder to the scene of the Boston Marathon bombings. After that experience, he was moved to write an essay in order to earn a bib for this year’s marathon; he had been training with some of his colleagues.
For the past seven years, Kennedy was the Big Brother to Alex Beauzile, 14, through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay.
“When Mike came in, he kind of changed my life,” Alex said. “He was always there to encourage us to do better — me and my sister.”
Kennedy and the Milton teen have been snowboarding, attended Celtics games and spent a lot of time just hanging out.
When he came on the job 12 years ago, Eddie Walsh thought he had hit the lottery: He got assigned to Ladder 15 on Boylston Street in the Back Bay.
It takes a special kind of firefighter to work in the Boylston Street firehouse. They have to be ambassadors as much as firefighters.
“It’s a busy house,” firefighter Steve MacDonald explained. “It’s a hazmat company. They help Cambridge on multiple alarms. And the Back Bay gets a lot of calls. But it’s the most public firehouse in the city. You’re interacting with people every day. The college kids. Red Sox fans. People in town for conventions across the street. You have to love people.”
Standing in the Engine 33 firehouse in the Back Bay today, Boston Fire Captain Neal Mullane’s head and face were scorched and burned, scars from the frantic effort he and other firefighters launched Wednesday to rescue their colleagues trapped by flames in the basement of 298 Beacon St.
Mullane, who is assigned to Ladder 18 in South Boston, was designated as the commander of the rapid intervention team Wednesday, a platoon of firefighters positioned at every fire to lead efforts to extricate firefighters if they get in trouble.
FC Note: Massport Firefighters greet the family of Lt. Ed Walsh. The family was flown in by JetBlue
A photo and some words from Max Widmer…(photo below caption)
‘Stumbled upon this incredible gesture tonight at Logan Airport tonight. Proud members of the #BFD were awaiting a mother of one of their fallen brothers as she arrived in Boston. Some of the best stories never make headlines. #heroes‘ — at Boston Logan International Airport.
Firefighter Michael Kennedy reportedly said he wanted to be the first one in “the pipe man” who grabs a hose and rushes into the burning building.
Firefighter Dennis Keith told Boston Globe that was supposed to be his job that day, but he gave it to his buddy instead, never imagining what would happen next.
Crossfit Members across the United States (and probably beyond) have participated in the Michael “Dork” Kennedy WOD (workout of the day). Firefighter Michael Kennedy was a Crossfit Level I instructor at Crossfit Together and his apparent nickname was Coach Dork.
Mike “Dork” Kennedy WOD
33 back squats 225,115
33 deadlifts 225,115
33 kettlebell swing 70,53
Danielle Celii, a friend (and firefighter), completed the WOD with a twist (the training mask). Picture below.