Thursday, October 15, 2015

Every day, first responders go to work knowing there’s a possibility they might not return home at the end of their shifts. Every day, the families of these first responders hold their breaths until they hear a garage door open or a key turning a lock, signifying their loved ones are safe at home. Every day, the rest of the population go about their lives like normal, at times taking for granted the serious jobs that our firefighters, law enforcement officers and paramedics have.

Last week, with the fire in Grandview, the risk these men and women take came brutally close to home, as one of our own was injured in a ceiling collapse. Just a week after we were rallying for his full recovery and keeping a close eye on those who lost everything in the deadly blaze, another tragic fire happened in another community close to home.

Kansas City lost two veteran firefighters when a wall of a burning structure collapsed Monday night. Fire Chief Paul Berardi identified the two as 43-year-old Larry J. Leggio, a 17-year department veteran, and 39-year-old John V. Mesh, a 13-year department veteran.

Leggio and Mesh were among a large group of firefighters who responded to a burning three-story building of businesses and apartments at Independence and Prospect avenues in the Northeast area.
As a whole, Kansas City was celebrating Monday after a Royals win, and Kansas City mourned Monday night with the incredible loss. This community supports one another in ways that make me incredibly proud to be a part of it. We revel in the highs and grieve our lows as one. There is not just a brotherhood when it comes to first responders; there is also a brotherhood in Kansas City.

This community has the backs of the Kansas City Fire Department. We support the everyday efforts of those who put their lives in danger, and our condolences go out to the families of those who sacrificed their own lives in order to save others. Firefighters Leggio and Mesh, we thank you, we appreciate you and we honor you.

A fund to support the families of fallen firefighters has been made available through IAFF Local 42. Tax-deductible donations will be given to the families of firefighters Leggio and Mesh. Donations can be made by check, payable to IAFF Local 42 and should be sent to 6320 Manchester Ave., Suite 42A, Kansas City, MO 64133.

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