West County firefighter remembered by firefighters union and Capitol

   

St. Louis, Mo. – IAFF 2665 and supporters are grieving the tragic death of Kevin Bacon, a 15-year veteran firefighter in West St. Louis County, who passed away on Saturday. Bacon was regarded as a “man’s man and a firefighter’s firefighter” by those that knew him.

Bacon, 39, made headlines within the last year when he received awards from the governor and the Greater St. Louis Fire Chiefs Association for a remarkable act of heroism for when he lifted a burning, overturned 3,000 lb car off of a trapped individual.

Those close to him, including Department of Labor Director Ryan McKenna (pictured above, left with Bacon to his immediate right), IAFF 2665 lobbyist Mark Habbas, St. Louis City fire captain and 1st Vice President of Firefighters Local 73 Kenny Mitchell, and IAFF 2665 2nd Vice President Mark Woolbright shared with The Missouri Times that he will be very missed.

“If you look up ‘fireman’ in the dictionary, it will have a picture of Kevin Bacon,” Mitchell said. “Just like every kid thinks of when he thinks of a fireman. Heart as big as this world and goes to work every day just to help someone else, and wants no praise for any of it! Kevin is as strong as an ox, but as mild mannered as you will ever see.”

“He was one of the best firefighters and best paramedics,” Habbas said. “Everyone felt safe when he was on the scene. He had one of those presences where you always felt safe around him, no matter what. Smart, strong, and in every way a positive motivator. He just inspired you to be the very best. I always felt like I was unstoppable when he was around me.”

His skill and strength were equally met by his compassion for his fellow firefighters.

Mark Habbas (left) with Kevin Bacon (middle) and friends
Mark Habbas (left) with Kevin Bacon (middle) and friends

Bacon started as a firefighter in St. Louis City and then went to West County. His involvement in the IAFF Local 2665 was driven by his desire to support other firefighters, said IAFF 2nd District Vice President Mark Woolbright.

“He was a big supporter of doing the right thing,” Woolbright said. “He supported the individuals such as myself, Mark Habbas, and the union members. He was an advocate for doing what was right for our membership and their families. Worst case scenario, if anything were to happen to one of our members, he was a behind the scenes kind of guy who made sure we had what we needed to have.”

St. Louisan supporters of the firefighter’s union who work in Jefferson City have lent their support to those closest to him. Though Bacon was not political, he understood and appreciated the value of politics.

“Kevin was someone who served our community with distinction,” state Senator Eric Schmitt, R-St. Louis County, said. “He shared his life helping others. He will be missed.”

“I knew Kevin personally,” Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart, said.  “He was a dedicated and courageous public servant.  His tragic loss is devastating to his brothers and sisters in the police, fire and EMS fields.  He will be missed.”

“Kevin was a great guy and a hero to our state,” Rep. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, said.

“Unfortunately it’s become common for some on the fringe to attempt to resurrect their careers by attacking heroes,” Scott Faughn, The Missouri Times publisher, said. “Kevin led his life as a hero and his untimely death is a reminder to all of us to respect and honor our heroes while they are with us.“

Friends painted a picture of a man who was not only compassionate, but determined to live life to its fullest.

“He never rode a bike until he wanted to do the Baja 1000 in Mexico,” said Mark Habbas, IAFF 2665 lobbyist and close friend to Bacon. “He went out, bought the best and fastest bike and did the Baja. That just goes to show what kind of guy Kevin was.”

“This man was Superman, honestly, in every aspect of the word,” Woolbright said. “He didn’t mind the challenge at all and he wasn’t scared of a thing – not one thing I’ve ever known, including death. “

Bacon will be truly missed for his compassion and strength that he provided the St. Louis area firefighters. His death has truly rocked the firefighters of the St. Louis area, who have had an outpouring of sympathy towards West County.

“He was like my brother,” Habbas said. “I just want people to know with his loss, a huge part of me was gutted.”

“I love you brother, and miss you every day, till we meet again!” Mitchell said.

Private funeral arrangements have been made, but there will be an open service on Thursday, June 26 from 2-8pm at Kutis Funeral Home, 5255 Lemay Ferry, St. Louis, MO 63129.

 

Pictures courtesy of Mark Habbas.

Rachael Herndon is the editor at The Missouri Times, and also produces This Week in Missouri Politics, publishes Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosts the #moleg podcast. She joined the Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.

Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.

To contact Rachael, email rachael@themissouritimes.com, or via Twitter @TheRachDunn.