SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Yankton County Emergency Services administrator Steve Hawkins, 58, died on Dec. 23 from cancer, the Yankton County EMS said on its Facebook page.
Hawkins’ wife Wendy, 52, who also had cancer, died the same day.
Troy Cowman, the deputy administrator for the EMS, said Wendy Hawkins had entered the hospital several weeks ago while Steve Hawkins was admitted more recently. Both died at the local hospital in Yankton, Cowman said.
“It’s just a shock to the system,” Cowman said of the two deaths. “All of here (EMS) are working through it.”
While the EMS staff is dealing with the loss, one of the main concerns is the three children of the Hawkins, Cowman said.
The county EMS is ready to help the three children, all in their 20s, cope and also handle expenses for funeral and their parents’ medical costs, Cowman said.
Yankton County EMS has established a GoFundMe account for the Hawkins family.
Hawkins had been the administrator since 2009, according to Yankton County EMS. He had been a paramedic in Cody, Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park before he came to Yankton.
“Steve was the kind of leader that ran the business the way it should be run,” Cowman said.
Hawkins made sure operations were done according to policy, Cowman said.
Hawkins also looked out for the employees, Cowman said.
“He made sure the needs of employees were taken care of,” Cowman said.
Hawkins was a friendly person who practiced an open-door style of leadership.
EMS staff would stop by the office to talk about work or non-work topics, Cowman said.
Cowman said Wendy Hawkins was a supporter and focused on her family. The Facebook post describes her as a devoted mother and wife.