While each and every Line of Duty Death in the fire service has an impact on everyone in the fire service, some of them tend to hit home more than others. I typically feel a sense of emptiness as I learn about a recently Line of Duty Death or hear about the possibility of one occurring. Following the initial report, as additional details are released, I tend to read into about who the brother or sister was and learn about who they left behind. For the family and friends of our fallen, life has changed forever. One way that we can honor them is by learning who they are, who they left behind, what events lead to their death, and learn from the events that occurred.
Recently, while in Detroit, I heard news out of Toledo, Ohio, that there had been a MAYDAY. As we rode around delivering donated equipment to the firehouses across the city, further details started to emerge about those involved. The reports eventually confirmed that there had been two Line of Duty Deaths. The names were finally released, and they were: Stephen Machcinski and Jamie Dickman. Even though I had never met either of the two brothers, I soon found out that we did have mutual friends.
Lt. Brent Bronner of Perkins Township FD and I met last year at FDIC in Indianapolis. We climbed in the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb together (Click here to read about the climb). As I learned about each of the two brothers who passed away, I found out that Jamie Dickman had worked with Bronner for a number of years. In fact, Bronner, Dickman, and a number of others brothers from the Ohio area have participated in numerous events called the Firefighter Turnout Challenge, to raise money for the National Firefighters Endowment. I have followed First Due Tackle, a fire service blog by Paul Hasenmeier, for some time now. He often writes about their push to raise awareness to firefighter fitness.
Last week, First Due Tackle ran an article called Lt. Bronner’s Reflection- Jamie Dickman. I couldn’t help but to sit in my chair and feel for these brothers that personally knew Stephen and Jamie. Of course, my first reaction upon learning of their friendship was to reach out to Brent and the rest of the brothers at Perkins Township FD. I have spoke with them and they are doing as well as is expected. I also believe they have some help on the way in regards to people that they are going to be able to talk with. Dickman had recently been hired with Toledo Fire and hadn’t been on the job there for much time at all. Please continue to keep the brothers, sisters, family, and friends of Stephen and Jamie in your thoughts and prayers.
While this one may have hit closer to home, we are losing brothers and sisters across the fire service on a very frequent basis. We have had several more LODD’s since the tragedy in Toledo, and we need to continue to pray for everyone involved with each of those. Each one of our firefighters who die in the Line of Duty or while off-duty leave family members behind. Each of their worlds have been changed forever…
Yesterday, I saw a news report out of Ohio about a fundraiser that is currently going on to raise money for Jamie Dickman’s family. While the t-shirt campaign was originally launched to raise money for both families, it seems that the family of Stephen Machcinski has requested that all of the funds be used to assist Dickman’s family: Jamie (wife), Paige (daughter), and Grant (son). It is truly humbling to think that the Machcinski family is staying so strong and offering the assistance to the other family. If that doesn’t make you feel warm inside, I’m not sure what would.
ABC Channel 13:
Click here to purchase a shirt to benefit the Dickman family and to REMEMBER both brothers from Toledo!
Throughout the next few months, this situation will be investigated by a number of agencies to determine what events took place on that day. Lt. Bronner requests that everyone continue to keep their thoughts and prayers headed toward all of those who have been affected, and to STUDY, TRAIN, and LEARN from the event once the NOISH report is released.