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Daughter honors father's sacrifice by serving as firefighter on the same engine

Northern Kentucky firefighters dedicate firetruck to fallen hero
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Ken Temke
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Posted at 8:53 AM, May 29, 2023

BUTLER, Ky. — Northern Kentucky firefighters came together over the holiday weekend to dedicate a firetruck to a fallen hero.

Engine 2802 now bears a plaque commemorating the service of Alexandria firefighter Ken Temke. Temke joined the Alexandria Fire District in 1997 as a volunteer. On the morning of March 25, 2004, Temke was part of a crew returning to the station when he collapsed, the Northern Pendleton Fire District said.

Crews worked to save Temke for several minutes and transported him to the hospital. Despite their efforts, Temke died shortly after arriving. According to his U.S. Fire Administration memorial, hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease was cited as his cause of death.

His daughter, Becca, was just 6 years at the time of his death.

"He was a man that loved his children, he did everything with us," she said.

Becca said she doesn't remember much about her dad, but she does remember going to the fire station with him. Now, she is honoring his legacy by serving on that very same engine. It's an engine the Alexandria Fire Department was planning to sell back in February.

"When I first heard that we were going to sell the truck it kind of made me, like, upset in a way because I know this truck will probably go somewhere like down to Eastern Kentucky and we'll never see it," Becca Temke said.

Instead, the truck went to a department about 20 miles away.

"The truck that Ken made his ultimate sacrifice on happens to be the same one that Northern Pendleton purchased to serve our Fire District," said Fire Chief John Seitz. "When a firefighter gives their life in the line of duty to their community, it is not just a loss to their department but to the entire fire service community."

Seitz said the moment was especially important to them because Becca decided to join Northern Pendleton Fire District in 2022.

"My dad’s service means a lot to me in many ways because I’m proud to carry my dad’s legacy on and follow his footprints. He proudly served his community and wanted to help others in time of need," she said. "I want everyone to know he loved what he did for many years, one day I would love to do the same thing by getting my EMT card here in the next upcoming year. I just hope to make him proud by what I’m doing.

"If he was here still today he would continue to serve his community. I'm proud that the Northern Pendelton Fire District is keeping his memory alive and dedicating the truck to him."

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