MADISON (WKOW) — Sunday the Madison Fire Department said goodbye to Todd Mahoney, the firefighter who died after competing in the Ironman in Madison last weekend.
More than 20 fire departments from Milwaukee to La Crosse and Janesville to Wausau descended upon the city to make sure Madison firefighters could say goodbye to their fallen brother.
“It’s the right thing to do, we don’t have to think too hard about that,” Fond Du Lac Fire Chief Peter O’Leary said.
He came down to Madison Sunday, with a crew to man Fire Station 1 downtown, where firefighter Todd Mahoney primarily worked.
“We know you can’t close your office to go to a funeral,” O’Leary said. “We know that there’s one third of their department on duty and many of those people would want to pay respects to their fallen brother.”
As firefighters and their families filled up Door Creek Church to attend Mahoney’s ceremony, firefighters from out of town rushed out the doors of the station to tend to the city.
Greenfield Fire Chief Jon Cohn said it’s just in their nature.
“Generally firefighters want to help, that’s why they got into this profession,” Cohn said. “So this is a way for us to help the Madison Fire Department, the family and the community.”
Both chiefs emphasized that they knew Madison firefighters would do the same for them if they needed.
In fact, O’Leary and his team worked alongside Madison firefighters in Appleton, when those firefighters needed help.
“If our community was stricken with the same issue, I’m confident as a fire chief knowing that the other members of the greater Wisconsin fire service will be there to help us,” he said.
After all even if they don’t work aside one another, firefighters are part of a bigger family.
“People hear firefighters talk about being family and they are truly seeing that convergence here today,” Cohn said.
Unfortunately, not all Madison firefighters were able to attend the service.
Since everyone used the Madison Fire Department’s equipment, some volunteered to drive the fire trucks to help the outside crews get around.
The Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin has set up a memorial fund in Mahoney’s memory, which you can find here.