Michael “Dork” Kennedy: An American Hero

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by JAY SPONSELLER

Michael "Dork" Kennedy: An American Hero
By definition, a hero is a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities. It’s a perfect description for Lt. Ed Walsh and Firefighter Mike“Dork” Kennedy, members of the Boston Fire Department. Both men died tragically in the line of duty on March 26, 2014, while trapped inside the basement of a four-story brownstone on busy Beacon Street. The two lost their lives combatting the nine alarm fire fueled by excessive winds feeding off the adjacent Charles River.

If you ask a first responder such as a police officer, firefighter, or military member if they consider themselves heroes, they will more than likely tell you that they were just doing their jobs. But their job is above and beyond what your average citizens consider to be just a job. They put themselves in positions that most would run from. They do it to protect us, to ensure our safety. This is exactly what Walsh and Kennedy did when they rushed courageously into 298 Beacon’s basement to combat the heart of the flames.

They acted selflessly to ensure that the people who lived inside the apartments could get out and so that their brothers and sisters in the department could enter the building, contain the fire, and keep it from spreading to neighboring buildings. Their bravery, just doing their job, ultimately saved numerous lives.

Mike “Dork” Kennedy: Veteran, Firefighter, Coach

Mike "Dork" Kennedy: Veteran, Firefighter, Coach

The power of community attracts many to CrossFit. It’s something that meant a lot to Kennedy. That connection was why he went out of his way to try and better the world around him.
Kennedy was no stranger in the hero department. One of the first individuals on scene during the Boston Marathon bombing, he quickly used training acquired as a combat veteran in the United States Marine Corps and as a Firefighter for one of the busiest firehouses in Boston, MA — Engine 33/Ladder 15. Dork (a nickname given to him by his friends) also participated in Big Brothers Big Sisters and was an advocate for the Wounded Warrior Project and Boston’s Firefighters Burn Foundation. He was a level one certified CrossFit trainer. He loved coaching and it showed. He enhanced other’s lives around him with his joy for it. Often referred to as “Coach K” within his local box, Dork was an avid competitor. In his last competition, the Cynergy CrossFit First Responders Challenge, he competed side by side with fellow first responders. His face showed absolute determination. He wouldn’t let his team down, or anyone else for that matter. That is how Kennedy lived his life. It is why he chose to join the military after high school and for that same reason to give back to his community by serving and protecting as a Boston Firefighter.

The power of community attracts many to CrossFit. It’s something that meant a lot to Kennedy. That connection was why he went out of his way to try and better the world around him. The power of the CrossFit community and the respect given to this veteran and firefighter were evident at his wake and funeral. Thousands who never met him, grateful for his service, came out to honor him and give condolences to his family, acknowledging that he put his life on the line for people he never knew. Ten thousand firefighters from all over the world stood shoulder to shoulder, lining the streets of Boston to render their last salute to a true hero, brother, and friend as he took his final ride atop the very fire truck that he rode in on a daily basis.

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