COLORADO SPRINGS — An addition to the front of Fire Stations in Colorado Springs is creating some curiosity.
It is a symbol in honor of Firefighter Bobby Keese who suddenly died.
There are close to a dozen black and purple fabric “buntings” on fire stations across the city.
It is fabric arranged and draped over the large doors where firetrucks exit for responses.
“The black part of the of the bunting represents, is we're actively in mourning of a brother. We just lost driver engineer Bobby Keese,” said Wanderscheid, “The purple stands for the service that we continue to provide the citizens of Colorado Springs.”
Wanderscheid who has been a colleague and close friend of Keese for close to 25 years also wants the community to know about the man the department is mourning.
“He was what we call be present. So, when somebody needed help when somebody needed training, when somebody needed an ear, somebody needed help off duty, Bobby was the guy.”
Keese had decades of experience as a driver-engineer who often stepped up to help his colleagues improve their skills.
He was recognized with the departments first Outstanding Mentorship award.
“He was one of our best driver engineers,” said Wanderscheid, “He was the driver engineer that the best called for advice. And that's why he won last year in 2022 the very first mentorship award.”
Keese’s large physical stature got people’s attention while his friendly nature put people at ease.
“He was a presence in the room, but he is a calming presence. So, he can come into a medical emergency, and I've been on many with him,” said Wanderscheid, “And he just kind of brought some order to some chaos.”
Keese was also a legacy firefighter in Colorado Springs.
His father retired from CSFD.
Keese was off duty and scheduled to start work the next day, when he suddenly died.
“We learned of our loss Friday, and he was supposed to be here Saturday. And it was not expected. And we're just still trying to deal with it,” said Wanderscheid.
As the purple on the bunting denotes firefighters will continue their jobs serving the community.
And as the black symbolizes, their hearts will be heavy knowing their friend and colleague is missing from the ranks.
Wanderscheid said, “It is a huge loss for our fire department.”
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