Jared had wanted to be a firefighter since the age of three. His dream was realized when he joined the Fairmount Township Department in August 2004. He was lost while responding to a call December 29, 2004.
Jared was always having fun, always smiling. He loved helping people; he often stopped to help those with car trouble on the side of the road, paid for fellow students’ lunches when they had no money. He was genuinely a kind, thoughtful young man. His aunt remarked he was the only teenager she had ever known who thought to tell you “Thank you” for cooking his supper.
Jared had learning disabilities, making school a struggle. When he graduated last year, we were as excited and relieved as he was. Although he finished through an alternative program, he graduated with honors.
Soon after joining the Fairmount Department, he decided he wanted to make firefighting his lifelong profession. He had planned to get his Fire I and Fire II training through the department and then to enroll in the local community college to get his Fire Science degree.
On December 25, 2004, he stopped by the fire department in his family’s hometown of Harrison, AR to trade patches. They told him they were in the process of hiring. He was so very excited at the thought of getting on a paid department. He spent his last day on earth filling out the application. All of his grandparents and an aunt had offered to let him live with them if he got on the Harrison Department.
Jared was a hard worker who found joy in helping others. As a child he mowed grass in the summer and shoveled drives in the winter for our elderly neighbors. He made friends with everyone from the toddlers to the elderly, no matter where we lived. He was fun-loving and athletic. Jared didn’t hold grudges; he said life was too short. He remained friends with every girl he ever dated.
Jared was also the typical middle child. He was the mediator but also our “wild child.” He was a risk taker and a daredevil. He absolutely loved “crotch-rocket” motorcycles. He said riding the fire truck was the only thing he’d ever found as much fun as his motorcycles. We often worried about his riding them, but he assured us living life to its fullest was far more important than living to an old age.
Although Jared’s time as a firefighter was short, we are thankful he was able to know the honor and privilege of serving on his department in his short life. It gave him direction, camaraderie, maturity, and prideboth in this community and in himself. He loved his fellow firefighters, life, family, and he loved his department.
Jared is survived by his parents, Patrick and Marlene, Basehor, KS, his sister Samantha, also of the home, and his older brother, Rick of Shawnee, KS. He was laid to rest in Harrison, AR, with both the Fairmount Township Fire Department and the Harrison Department assisting with the funeral. Fairmount also honored him with a beautiful firefighter’s memorial in Kansas City, KS. - Submitted by his mother