Family, friends gather to lay Tri-State firefighter to rest
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A CVG firefighter and EMT was laid to rest Thursday after he died from cancer.
Mark Hernandez, 54, died about one week ago from an occupational cancer, leukemia, according to the International Association of Fire Fighters. Occupational cancers occur when someone is exposed to carcinogenic (cancer-causing) agents in the workplace, the Cancer Council says.
On Thursday, family, friends and fellow firefighters came together to lay Mark to rest while remembering the man they loved.
Mark dedicated 21 years to the fire service, working at five different departments over his career, most recently with CVG Airport Fire.
“It’s just his passion. He loved it so much,” Mariah Hernandez, Mark’s daughter, said about her father’s years in the fire service. “You could just see pure joy on his face, especially if he would talk to you about it, or us as kids going to the fire station, like seeing him all the time. He would tell us about the fire trucks and all of that. He just had pure joy and that. He just had pure joy and that was his second home and second family.”
When he wasn’t on duty, Mark enjoyed football, wrestling, hunting and making people laugh.
“He was always a jokester, the class clown,” Mark’s son, Ryan Hernandez, said. “He always wanted to make everybody laugh and that’s what he did all the time.”
Mark was diagnosed with cancer around Thanksgiving 2021.
His kids say he fought hard and kept that positivity even while battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
According to the International Association of Fire Fighters, cancer is the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths in the fire service.
Mark’s children say they’re at peace.
“We’ll forever fill that legacy and make him proud and that’s one thing he told us, ‘I am just so proud of you guys, and I love you forever,’ and I just have peace that he’s healed and he’s okay,” said Mariah at Thursday’s service.
The Hernandez family said they were so grateful for all of the support they’ve received from fellow firefighters. They said it helped them navigate through such a difficult time.
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