For nearly half of his young life Gene Kirchner gave back, volunteering as a firefighter for the Reisterstown Volunteer Fire Company in Reisterstown, Maryland. But on April 24th, Kirchner fought his final blaze, getting trapped while fighting an early morning house fire, not far from the fire station which served as his second home. This past week, Kirchner was called home. He passed away from injuries suffered while battling the blaze and trying to rescue the man inside. A double tragedy, because neither of them survived.
Gene Kirchner was 25-years-old. He lived only a little more than two decades on this earth, yet Kirchner proved what life could be all about. Remember this is a volunteer fire company, which means you don’t get a paycheck to do it, you do it because you want to give back, because your calling is to help others in what could be their greatest time of need. Gene Kirchner defines what this blog is all about.
The Baltimore County Fire Chief said being a volunteer fireman was Gene Kirchner’s “passion”. Something he held in his heart, for more than a decade. He put his life on the line to help others. How many people do you meet like Gene? Since he was a teenager he got the point… that life was more than just about him. He volunteered, he sacrificed to try and make sure others would not have to do the same.
How many teenagers do you know who already know life’s greatest lesson? If you live a life of giving, the world will be a better place because of it.
Gene Kirchner made his community and the world a better place. His death comes as the volunteer fire company prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary, a parade is scheduled for this month, with an open house in June. But today the only parade consists of other firefighters, brothers, heroes, making their way to the cemetery, as firefighter Gene Kirchner is laid to rest. State flags fly at half-staff, until sunset today.
Come sunrise tomorrow, as the flags are lifted, so will the spirit of a community. An entire town is better because of a young man who lived his life in the service of others. A hero.
A hero is defined in the dictionary as a person admired for courage or noble qualities. Just ask a co-worker, from Kirchner’s regular job as a dispatch controller for Butler Medical Transport. Andrea Shockney says, “He died doing what he loved to do, which was saving people. He lit up the room. If you saw you were working with him on the schedule, you knew you were going to have a wonderful day.”
Today will not be that day, as a community says goodbye to Gene Kirchner. But every day moving forward will be, because of Kirchner’s giving spirit during his time on this earth.
The spirit of a young man who was born to be a hero.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.