LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Dennis Rodeman, a Michigan firefighter, was killed Wednesday after he was hit by a vehicle while participating in the Lansing Fire Department’s annual “Fill the Boot” charity event for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
During the charity drive, firefighters stand near intersections, holding fire boots and asking for donations from stopped motorists.
Rodeman, 35, had worked for the Lansing Fire Department for seven years and previously had served in the US. Marine Corps.
He and his wife got married about two months ago, and the couple is expecting their first child.
“The Lansing Fire Department has suffered a tremendous loss this evening,” Lansing Fire Chief Randy Talifarro said. “He was a very well thought of, highly regarded individual.”
Alongside Talifarro, members of the Lansing Fire and Police Department stood with heavy hearts, mourning the loss of their fellow co-worker, family member and friend.
Lansing firefighter Charles Stadt worked closely with Rodeman.
“It’s hard to put Dennis in words. He was probably the most fantastic human being I’ve ever met,” Stadt said. “He’s one of the guys that would be the first one to take his shirt off and give it to you. We’re going to a charitable event (and) one guy doesn’t come home. I mean that’s – you can’t prepare for that.”
Stadt continued: “I love him like I love my own brother. I was just at his house last week. To hear a brother isn’t coming home…”
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said flags will fly at half-staff Thursday at all city buildings, and the mayor’s office is working with the International Association of Firefighters to help set up a fund for Rodeman’s family.
“This is a shocking and unthinkable tragedy,” Bernero said. “The loss of Dennis Rodeman is a blow to the Lansing family.”
Right now, the 22 year-old driver, whose identity has not yet been released, is in custody and could face open murder charges as well as fleeing and eluding, a felony.