One person meant 25 years of experience, dedication, and service to Sioux Falls — and now he’s gone. Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is mourning the death of Captain Kendall Ward. Ward died Monday night after battling pancreatic cancer.
On Tuesday, it was business as usual at Sioux Falls Fire Rescue. Crew members didn’t miss a beat when a call for a fire came in in the afternoon. The weight of their gear didn’t slow them down from doing their duty, nor did their heavy hearts.
“I don’t know how to put it into words, but it’s hard to replace 25 years of service, experience, and dedication,” Division Chief Jay Titus said.
Flags are at half staff for Ward, who found out he had cancer just a few months ago. Now his crew is honoring the man who was on the frontlines of a fire when people needed help.
“When you can go a long time without it happening, and then it could happen a couple of times in a row. It depends on what was burning and what was going on,” Ward said years ago when KELOLAND News talked to him at a fire site.
“You hear it all the time, and it’s true about how firefighters are together as crews and family. That’s the way it was,” Titus said.
Titus worked with Ward quite a bit over the years. In addition to captain, Ward worked as a search and rescue technician and hazardous materials technician.
Titus says Ward’s attention to detail was second to none.
“He just loved coming to work every day. He always had a smile on his face. Loved to train. If you mentioned training, he was chomping at the bit to get out there and train. That’s what made him such a great firefighter,” Titus said.
It’s a sad day, but that’s not stopping firefighters from giving their whole hearts to the job. Titus says that’s what Ward did, and it’s what he would want to continue.
“Kendall dedicated his life to being a firefighter, and it’s probably one of the best ways to honor any of our members that pass away is keep doing the job they love to do,” Titus said.