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PERKINS TOWNSHIP, OH (Toledo News Now) -
The Glass City continues to mourn the loss of two Toledo firefighters after they were killed in the line of duty Jan. 26, 2014. But other communities are grieving, including Perkins Township, where one of the firefighters first started.
Private James Dickman was a rookie with the Toledo Fire Department, but he was not a rookie firefighter. His first firefighting family - the Perkins Township Fire Department - says he was born to be a fireman.
Before making it to his dream job working as a Toledo firefighter, Dickman worked for 10 years at the Perkins Township Fire Department. Firefighters there have lowered the flags to half-staff to show their support for their fellow brother Dickman, as well as Stephen Machcinski.
To his former co-workers at Perkins Township, Dickman was everything you'd imagine a firefighter should be.
"Firefighting was his life and he was the poster boy for a firefighter," said Perkins Township Fire Chief Keith Wohlever.
"It was easier going into a fire when you have someone like that watching your back," added Lt. Brent Bronner.
But he was an even better person.
"Jamie was an energetic person, always had a smile on his face. He lived by high morals, high ethics. His integrity was incredible. He was always looking to improve himself and the department," explained Wohlever.
"He was caring. He cared about his family - his first family: his wife and his two children. He cared about his church, which he was very involved in, and he cared about his family in the fire service," said Asst. Chief David Murphy.
Dickman began as a part-time firefighter with Perkins Township in 2003. He transitioned to full-time in 2005. With a dream to work for a big department, Dickman's last day with Perkins Township was Sept. 4, 2013.
He had only been with the Toledo Fire Department for six months before his tragic death in the line of duty Jan. 26. His death is one his brothers in Perkins Township will never forget.
"From our perspective, everybody here is just still trying to process everything and put it into perspective," said Wohlever. "We all laugh that we have multiple families. We have our family at home, we have our family here, and in Jamie's case, he had a third family: a family in Toledo. But we're all one big family and we all work together, and we'll all work together to get through this."
Dickman leaves behind a wife, a 3-year-old daughter and a 1-month-old son. He was 31 years old.
The community is showing support for the department and families of the victims in a variety of ways. Donations may be made to the Toledo Fire and Rescue Foundation at any Toledo Police or Toledo Fire Credit Union location.