Thursday, July 12, 2001
Memorial honors fire chief
Frank Tompkins was Morgan Twp. department's first leader
By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer
OKEANA In a special public ceremony this weekend, Morgan Township will honor Frank L. Tompkins, its first fire chief and a man whose dedication to volunteer firefighting shortened his life.
A permanent memorial, consisting of a red fire hydrant flanked by two large stones in front of the township's fire station and administration building, will be unveiled at 7 p.m., Saturday.
One stone bears the words, This fire station is dedicated in memory of Fire Chief Frank L. Tompkins for his 34 years of dedicated service to the community of Morgan Township.
The other stone lists the names of the founding members of the Morgan Township Fire Department: Earl Bennett, Zelotes Brown, Homer Davis, Leonard Fagaly, Robert L. Kimball, Fred Mabis, Eli Parkhurst, Stanley Scheering, Carl Skjoldager and Mr. Tompkins.
The son of a Cincinnati firefighter, Mr. Tompkins became the township's first fire chief in 1948. A mechanic, he served in that volunteer position until his death in 1982.
His death stemmed from smoke he had inhaled at a fire 10 years earlier, said Rob Keiler, a Morgan Township firefighter who led the effort to honor Mr. Tompkins.
We had hoped to honor him when the fire station was built several years ago, but we couldn't make it happen then, he said.
Later, Mr. Keiler organized a committee to establish a permanent memorial for Mr. Tompkins. The Morgan Township Fire and EMS Association paid the $2,200 cost of the memorial.
Mr. Tompkins' son Frank Jr., his daughter Judy and his granddaughter Tracy served in the fire department. His grandson Jason is a Morgan Township firefighter now.
For many years, he was the fire department, Mr. Keiler said. If anyone deserved to have the firehouse dedicated to him, it's him.
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