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Local veteran firefighter contracts COVID-19 in line of duty, dies from complications

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 8:15 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A local hero is being remembered after he contracted COVID-19 in the line of duty and died from complications of the virus.

It is with deep regret and sympathy that the KCK Professional Firefighters Association says Local 64 member and Forbes Field Assistant Chief of Operations Michael Baker has died from complications with COVID-19, which he contracted while on duty.

Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home said Michael L. Baker, 52, of Carbondale died in the line of duty on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at Research Medical Center in Kansas City.

Baker graduated from Highland Park High School in 1988 and worked at Amoco at Holiday Square, then went to work at Hallmark Cards as a Stock Handler and worked his way up to supervisor. He then earned his Associate Degree in Fire Science while he served in the U.S. Air Force.

After two decades of service, Baker retired from the U.S. Air Force and went to serve as Assistant Fire Chief in the 190th Air Refueling Wing in the Air National Guard. He was also a volunteer firefighter in Carbondale for 28 years.

KCK Professional Firefighters Association said Baker was with the Forbes Field Fire Dept. for 14 years and served honorably in the Kansa Air National Guard.

Baker left behind a wife and three adult children.

Family and friends say Baker’s passion was to serve his community and his country. They said he was a true servant to his country and even more to his family.

Brennan-Mathena said Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, Sept. 30, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church at 1 p.m. Burial will follow at the Carbondale Cemetery with full military honors provided by the 190th Air Refueling Wing.

Instead of flowers, the family has suggested memorial donations be made to the Michael Baker Memorial Fund. Donations will be divided amongst the grandchildren to further their future education. Donations can be left at the church or mailed in the care of Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home, 800 SW 6th Ave., Topeka, KS 66603.

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