Husband-and-wife Topeka police officer and firefighter honored by their departments

By Tim Hrenchir
Topeka Capital Journal – April 3, 2017

Photo by Thad Allton

Topeka firefighter Josh Mayer and his wife, Topeka police officer Laura Mayer, say it’s always awkward whenever they’re dispatched to the scene of the same traffic accident.

Normally, married couples who see each other out in public will kiss, or at least talk affectionately, Laura Mayer said.

But at emergency scenes where she sees her husband, she said, she usually just gives him “kind of a head nod.”

“You have to continue to do your job,” Laura Mayer said. “You have to continue to be professional.”

The Mayers were both recently honored by their respective departments — Josh for helping rescue people from a burning building and Laura for the care and commitment she showed to a small child caught up in a bad situation.

The Topeka Police Department on Feb. 22 awarded officer Laura Mayer a Commendation Bar for her actions responding last summer to a call involving the child, who had been through a very traumatic experience.

Capt. Michael Cross said Mayer comforted the child and went “above and beyond” to make sure the child’s needs were met.

“Officer Mayer declined a relief officer and voluntarily remained with the child for more than 24 hours straight to keep the child as comfortable as possible,” Cross said. “Her commitment to caring for the child’s needs through her compassion and empathy went far beyond what is normally expected of her position and is the reason she received the award.”

Apparatus operator Josh Mayer was among seven Topeka firefighters who received the department’s Medal of Meritorious Service on March 22 for their actions responding about 6:30 a.m. Dec. 12 to aid the Soldier Township Fire Department with a structure fire that killed one person at 3631 N.W. Button Road.

The others were Capts. Rex Orton, David Owen and Brian Foster, Lts. Jeffrey Studebaker and Eric Kolean and apparatus operator Daniel McCollum.

Firefighters while en route were advised that as many as five people were trapped in the basement, according to a narrative crafted by the fire department. It said they arrived and, disregarding personal safety, entered the burning building and located people inside.

Topeka firefighters brought out four of those people while the Soldier Fire Department brought out the fifth, the narrative said.

“When the victims were removed, Topeka Fire Department crews immediately began lifesaving first aid to the victims and quickly stabilized them for transport,” it said. “The end result was that four of the five victims were able to survive this incident after hospitalization.”

Josh and Laura Mayer both have jobs that give them a great way to serve their community, they told The Capital-Journal this past week.

They said having a spouse who works in public safety makes it easier to for them to relate to each other and understand what they’re going through.

Laura Mayer works a day shift while Josh Mayer works 24-hour shifts for the fire departments, meaning they’ll sometimes both be called during the day to the scene of the same crime or emergency, usually a traffic accident.

Josh Mayer grew up in Wamego and graduated with a degree in kinesiology from Kansas State University before becoming a Topeka firefighter in 2007.

Laura Mayer grew up in Lawrence and worked for the Topeka city attorney’s office before becoming a Topeka police officer in 2004.

The couple’s last name is pronounced “Meyer,” as in “Oscar ‘Meyer’ wiener,” Laura Mayer said.

The Mayers say they are one of two married couples they know consisting of a Topeka firefighter and a Topeka police officer. The other is Topeka Fire Department investigator Brad Hanika and his wife, a Topeka police officer who asked that her name not be published.

The Mayers have been married since Oct. 28, 2009.

They said they were introduced to each other by Hanika and his wife.

Laura Mayer said the couple invited her for lunch and video games to a Topeka fire station, where she showed up and found “no lunch and no video games.”

But Josh Mayer was there. The couple — who had previously told Laura about Josh — introduced them.

The situation initially became very awkward, Laura Mayer recalled.

But after that, she said, “we were pretty much inseparable.”


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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