Loss of a Brother & A Mentor

Few fireman have such a natural knack for the job and the ability to mentor and inspire other firefighters, but Mick was all these things.  Mark “Mick” McKenzie served as a life member of the Kentland Fire Department and held rank to the position of Deputy Fire Chief.  In addition, he was a career firefighter in Montgomery County, Maryland serving at various firehouses such as Rockville, Wheaton, and Takoma Park.

Mick had just enough quirks to make you want to listen to him.  He was up so much he fell asleep constantly, in the most random of places – usually with a cigarette in his mouth.  One night, he was in charge of TL-33 and we were returning from a AFA around 0200hrs.  I was a newly hired career firefighter and I was tired and worried about getting to work at my normal time in the AM…. Mick made us stop at 3 different 7-Elevens so he could find the right flavor Slushee to mix with his soda.  On another night, he kept me and some other guys up till 0430hrs teaching us about locks.

Mick performed flawlessly on the fireground.  He was the epitome of “first in, last out” and always had something to show you or teach you.  He was the type of guy who inspired you to shut up and listen whenever he said anything – it was a privilege for him to just to take time to talk to you.  He had a “can do” attitude and made sure you had it too.  Cited countless times by numerous organizations for his herosim, ingenuity, and valor, Mick was well known in the metro-DC area fire service.  

He passed away yesterday, August 15, 2008 in Frederick, MD.

Mick represents another lost from what seems to be a dying stock of “inspirational firefighters”.  His career and his teachings should inspire all of us to do what he did best – inspire others.  Don’t waste the resources around you.  There are a lot of phenominal firefighters out there.  You might not recognize it immediatley, but some of them could be standing right next to you.  Take time, every day, to learn from others and to share with others what you know.  

Thats what Mick taught me.

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2 Responses

  1. Thank you for posting your memories of Mick. I can relate to the having to stop at numerous 7-11’s just to find the right flavor of Slushee to mix with his soda…..While dating Mick, he taught my son, Austin, a “terrible” habit. One that only Mick could have gotten away with. He taught Austin the finer art of eating ice cream. You had to have Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream, and then you have to add the Ginger Ale. And, as we all who knew Mick knows…it can only be Seagrams Ginger Ale…if the store didn’t have Seagrams, we had to go to the next store, and the next, until we got our Seagrams!!! God Love Him! I know a lot of others do too! And the falling asleep in random places, like eating diner….during a conversation…..anywhere, pretty much!

    God Bless You, Mick! Walk with the Angels. You were already one long ago to me!!!

    We love you always!
    Kim, Ashley, Austin, AJ

  2. I met Mick only a few times when I used to do ride-a-longs 33. The few times I spoke with him will last a lifetime. He truely loved the job and his knowledge was limitless. Boy does Heaven one hell of a crew with him& Pete. RIP Brother.

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