by John Centers, Assistant Fire Chief, Monroe
As you may have heard by now, the Red Onion is hosting a fundraiser for Kenny Ellis of the Monroe Fire Department on Monday, September 15, 2008. The guest bartender (me) will be slingin' stuff in the general direction of those who ask for it, and trying not to get any on me.
I have been asked a number of questions about Kenny over the last several months (particularly regarding his condition) so, here goes. Kenny began his role in the fire service in 1983 at the City of Fairfield Fire Department, was promoted to Lieutenant in 1986 and Captain in charge of training in 1990. In 1993, he entered a medical equipment company providing items through sales and distribution. In 1995, greatly missing the fire service, he was hired by Liberty Township Fire Department and, was hired as a career Firefighter in Monroe in 2000. Over these many years Kenny has functioned in a number of areas in the fire service such as Fire Instructor, EMS Instructor, Fire Inspector, Arson Investigator and CPR Instructor. Kenny married his current wife Jodi in 1995 and they collectively have 6 children and 1 step-son....Tami 34, Scott 31, Kenny Jr. 27, Step-son Mike 20, Sarah 17, Tiffany 12 and Tyler 10. If free-time presented itself, racquetball and bowling are the hobbies of choice.
The most memorable call occurred at Fairfield when he came upon an auto accident with a victim trapped and on fire. With all the training, expertise and knowledge of an experienced firefighter, Kenny alone in his staff car with only a fire extinguisher worked at a pace only firefighters can know, only to lose the battle. That incident supports our knowledge that sometimes we will be victorious in our endeavors, and other times we will lose. Over the last several months, Monroe Firefighters have stepped-up to cover Kenny's shifts, keeping a paycheck coming in to him while he has undergone varying levels of treatment. I guess this behavior is not unusual, Firefighters after all are here to help people but, covering 24 hour shifts on their own time, that's what families do. Kenny has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer of the brain that is described by his Physician as, "Cancer of a particularly aggressive nature". He has sought treatment at the Mayo and Mayfield Clinics as of late with the hopes of any level of good news. This is just a great guy and the really sad thing is....most of those reading this will never have the opportunity to meet him personally.
So.... enter Mark Bursley owner, Red Onion. Mark offered a guest bartender gig to me (although I'm not sure why) and offered for the proceeds to go to whatever Sports Mom and I desired... enter Kenny Ellis. If you ever wondered what motivates a guy like Mark, look no further, he is the genuine article. And what better place to have it than the Red Onion, originally opened by a Firefighter.
So... if you ever wanted to help someone out that has spent their life helping others, Monday is your chance.
I will be there at 5:00 to start my gig as guest bartender and I hope that many of our fine residents will join me. Mark will be serving special menu items and I'll check with him to see if he can post the details prior to Monday.
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