Manhattan fire captain takes last ride

By McKenzi Davis
KSNT – July 7, 2018

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A Manhattan fire captain took his last ride at his funeral this morning.

Captain Braun died on Sunday after a two-year battle with cancer. He has worked at the Manhattan Fire Department since 2001. He was then promoted to captain in 2014.

The funeral was held in Wamego where he has family ties.

Captain Wayne Braun’s final ride was in an Old Engine One.


Manhattan Mercury – By Savannah Rattanavong

Gray, overcast skies seemed to stand still as Manhattan Fire Department Capt. Wayne Braun was laid to rest Thursday afternoon at Wamego City Cemetery.

Braun, 46, died Sunday after a two-year battle with cancer.

Friends and family gathered at the Trinity Baptist Church to pay their respects and remember his life.

“I don’t think there’s any question that the thing that people will take away has to do to with his dedication to his job, to helping other people and then to making the people around him the best that they could be,” MFD deputy chief Ryan Almes said.

Uniformed servicemen stood outside the church and saluted as Braun’s casket was carried out and placed onto Old Engine 1.

More than 100 vehicles joined the procession to the cemetery, including those from emergency medical services, fire, police departments and more from across the state. The streets were quiet as the line traveled single-file on U.S. Highway 24.

In Manhattan, firefighters from Riley County and Junction City staffed two stations.

“A lot of people knew him of the people that were there (at the funeral) and I think that speaks volumes to who he was as a person,” Almes said. “Even if they didn’t know him, they knew what he meant to us as a department.”

Braun began his career in 1995, when he worked as a volunteer in Graham County and Hill City. He moved to Wamego in 2000 where he continued his service with the local fire department.

In 2001, he also began his career with the Manhattan Fire Department where he served for 17 years, beginning as a volunteer and then a driver, which he took on with gusto. Almes said there was rarely a time when Braun didn’t know how to fix the trucks, and when he couldn’t, he’d at least identify the problem. Braun also served on the emergency rescue team at Jeffrey Energy Center near St. Marys.

In 2014, Braun was promoted to captain. He led his company, Quint 5 at Fire Station 5, to his last fire at a mobile home park on Farm Bureau Road on June 29. Almes said Braun was then transferred to light duty.

Those close to Braun described him as a dedicated man that took his job seriously. Almes recalled someone at the funeral saying there was a 1/16th-inch difference between Braun’s smile and a frown — but under the gruff exterior, lay a gentle man who cared deeply about the folks he worked with.

Braun stressed education, taking classes and earning certifications throughout his career, and mentorship, making sure new firefighters were capable of handling the job. He also served as a state instructor for search and rescue and taught at the annual state conference .

“I remember when I was a snot-nosed 21-year-old brand-new EMT that wanted to be a firefighter,” Trevor Michaelis, a firefighter at the Topeka Fire Department, wrote on MFD’s Facebook page. “You were there at the good ol’ Wamego Fire Department and made me feel welcome and a part of the team, and help(ed) me realize that I could do the job and love it…. You are a friend, a brother, and the world is a dimmer place without you.”

Instead of flowers, Braun’s family asked people to send memorials to the Good Shepherd Hospice House, as well as that the Wayne Braun Memorial Fund be used for fire education.

“We’ll remember you with all your special nuances, your one-liners, and our memories from all the days gone before that we have been privileged to share with you” MFD Chief Scott French said at Braun’s eulogy. “And today we’ll grieve over you and cry over you and even smile because of you.

“And in all the tomorrows we’ll feel you, gone in some ways, but your presence ever near. As a true fireman’s captain, your name is synonymous with the department’s core values of honor, courage, loyalty and compassion. Rest in peace brother, we will take it from here.”

Braun is survived by his wife and two children.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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