16 hours ago
The first of our stories from our Firefighter Week participants is Joe Yeakley, from Lindale Texas ....
“Life didn’t stop for the world on January 17, 2014 and it didn’t stop for me either, but at that moment – and the ensuring months, I thought it did.”
Joe was responding to a house fire just outside the city and while in the garage, the attic and garage collapsed on him. He was trapped. From “Mayday” to “all clear” was almost four minutes. The firefighter of nearly thirty-five years had 3rd degree deep tissue burns on nearly 55 percent of his body.
“I lost part of my nose, my left ear and all of my fingers. I don’t remember the 96 days I spent in the ICU at Parkland Hospital, I was unconscious, but God had a plan for me – and it wasn’t to die that day.”
After the ICU, Joe was transferred to a rehab hospital in Dallas and then stayed in Dallas for outpatient therapy.
“My wife, Denise and I, lived in a hotel for about five months. We returned home around Thanksgiving and it was tough. I thought my career was done, but my community, God and my fellow firefighters would not allow that. I figured I’d sit my easy chair and eat bonbons and be miserable. I went through a severe depression, but I sought help."
Joe originally met Lionel Crowther at World Burn Congress in Dallas. He didn’t want to go, but his friends forced him to and it was the best thing that could have happened to him.
“Lionel kept checking up on me – through social media, on the phone, whatever it took. He first invited me to Adaptive in 2015, but I wasn’t ready yet. “
Joe’s hands were still bandaged and he was extremely dependent on his wife, " I didn't want to let her out my sight."
This year, Joe’s schedule finally aligned and he made the trip to Colorado.
“I was as nervous as I could be. How would I fit in? But in just one day, it’s been amazing. I’ve shared stories with the guys and found not only do I have a lot in common, but there are many here with worse injuries. I realized it was normal to think my life is over, but I’ve found it is not.”
Joe’s life is about to get more amazing. He was recently named Fire Chief at the Lindale FD and continues to be an instructor at Texas A&M, but most importantly, he’s going to be a grandfather.
“My injury happened right after my daughter got married and I felt horrible, but my family was so supportive and now I’m going to be a grandfather to a baby girl. She’s probably going to be the only kid whose grandpa doesn’t have fingers, but it’s not going to stop me from holding her, changing her diapers and living my life.” ... See MoreSee Less
I love you! You and Denise are so strong and I’m glad to have y’all in the family an see you I feel so inspired by how strong you two are! And I hope I can raise jole to grow up and be like you! You will be a great grandpa and I’m so glad to have such a. Wonderful family! Love you all so much an can’t wait to see y’all again.
You sir, are such an inspiration! Thank you for your service. And thanks to all firefighters and first responders ❤️❤️❤️
Thank you for your service to the communities and congratulation on your new position.
Chief you’re an inspiration to all firefighters. Congratulations on the new promotion and joining as a TEEX Instructor. Your dedication to the Maltese Cross is admirable!
So proud of this man, his family and the Lindale TX community. I don’t know him personally but have certainly followed his story.
Thank you for your service Joe Yeakley. You were always so kind & my Grandparents (Lee & Pauline Shehee) spoke highly of you in our little town I grew up in. God Bless you Joe.
Way to go Joe. I’m glad you finally got to go.
Can I say I told you so Joe Yeakley?? Glad you are enjoying Crested Butte! Forget about bonbons and get your butt back to the gym😆
Such an honor to have him in our community. Thank you for your service and congrats on the upcoming baby girl
Your amazing! Thanks for you service and congrats on being promoted to chief.
Congratulations you are truly an inspiration to all of us and I only hold the highest regards to you Joe Yeakley
Congratulations & continued prayers
Prayer is such an amazing thing, we had not lived in this area very long when we started seeing yard signs saying "Pray for Joe". We didn't know who Joe was but we knew God knew so we Prayed like so many others. Wonderful community support to put up signs. God Bless you He has a plan for you
God bless you and family Joe 🙏🙏🙏
Chief Yeakley is a great man and I am blessed to live close to him to get to train and learn from him
You are an inspiration to all of us!
Congratulations on the coming granddaughter. Keep your head up God still has plans for you.
I feel like I know you but I actually know you through your daughter Nicole. I was at AHS back in 2014 and am still there today. Nicole’s love and respect for you is incredible. How blessed each of you are to have one another’s love and support. As this long list continues I too have grown to admire you as she updates me of your successes, your persistence and your perseverance. God has a big plan for you. It’s definite that he wants you here for that baby granddaughter. Congratulations!
Joe, you always have held a special place in my heart when my daddy died and you came to the house. You knew that I was an only child, and was handling things on my own. You told me everything was gonna be okay, and that I did not have to do it all alone, just call if I needed anything. You are such a blessing to so many. Thank you for all you do for our community.
It was such an honor to meet you in Parkland. I wish my niece would follow your life but she has given up I guess, Congratulations
Thank you, Joe. You have been such an inspiration to all. Our Lindale Community loves you. May God continue to bless you.
God Bless you Sir, you are an inspiration to many. Thank you for your service Sir. Congratulations on your Granddaughter
God and I admire you and what you are doing. God’s Blessings on you
It’s been a honor to get to meet you Chief.
Continued prayers for you Joe and your family. You helped me so much when I started my rehab. Thank you for being you. God Bless.
DC Firefighters Burn Foundation added 3 new photos — at Adaptive Sports Center.
23 hours ago
Today kicks off the 8th Annual Firefighter Burn Survivors Week at Adaptive Sports Center. This year we have a total of eleven guys, including three from Canada. We would like to thank all of our sponsors for making this week possible. Follow us throughout the week for interviews with the participants, photos, videos and more!! ... See MoreSee Less
Good for you Vince Audino!
Love the matching shirts have fun
2 weeks ago
On Sunday January 20th the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation will kick off another week of programming at the Adaptive Sports Center for the 2019 Firefighter Burn Survivors Week. Please follow us all week on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as we highlight the stories of the participants and provide daily interviews and photos from the group. We would like to thank all of our sponsors 3M Scott Fire & Safety, Globe Turnout Gear, PBI Products Americas, Denver Firefighters Charitable Foundation, DC Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 36, IAFF Foundation, Boston Firefighters Burn Foundation, Toronto Professional Firefighters Local 3888, WLGores & Associates, and LION who have made this week possible. ... See MoreSee Less
Guys have t shirts?
Looking forward to skiing, climbing, and shooting video with you all again! By the way, this year's logo is RAD! See you soon.
Hopefully the Dryer family won’t have the flu!
3 weeks ago
Save the Date! Our annual bowling tournament is back! Registration opens January 29. Same place, same location (different name) and same great time. ... See MoreSee Less
1 month ago
Thank you The Salt Line for hosting our annual Christmas tree fundraiser and to everyone who purchased a tree in support of the Foundation. We are officially sold out of trees and raised $15,000 for burn education and burn prevention programming. Thank you! ... See MoreSee Less
DC Firefighters Burn Foundation added 4 new photos.
1 month ago
Did someone say dance party??! We are thrilled that TRILOGY BAND is back for our second annual Night at the Market. Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 18, 2019 at Eastern Market for our annual fundraiser and get ready to party! ... See MoreSee Less
Just saw them Saturday in Manassas they rock!!
DC Firefighters Burn Foundation added 4 new photos.
2 months ago
Did you get your #ChristmasTree from The Salt Line this year?! We'd love if you shared your photos of tree pick up and/or when it's up and decorated. Here are a few we have received already....Thanks to everyone who supported the Foundation! ... See MoreSee Less
This weekend we said "Thank You!" to our wonderful partners at The Salt Line for hosting our Christmas tree fundraiser. In 5 years, we have raised more than $60,000 together for the Foundation. If you haven't gotten your tree yet, go down to The Salt Line (79 Potomac Ave SE) and pick one up! ... See MoreSee Less
Tomorrow is #CyberMonday and many of you will be shopping on Amazon.com.... Amazon Smile donates a percentage of applicable sales to charity - it only takes a minute to sign up! Just go to smile.amazon.com/
and find the D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation in the drop down arrow. We appreciate any and all support. Happy Shopping! ... See MoreSee Less
Thinking about #Christmas? It's time to start decorating - so come down to our friends at The Salt Line Friday, November 23 and get your Christmas tree as well as all your holiday needs - wreaths, Foundation ornaments, etc.
The Salt Line will be selling trees all weekend 10 AM - 9 PM from now until Christmas and from 4-9 PM Monday - Friday. All proceeds benefit the Foundation. Come #shopsmall! #SmallbizSaturday ... See MoreSee Less
Where is this located please.
The DC Firefighters Burn Foundation would like to recognize our friends over 3M Scott Fire & Safety for partnering with us as our Platinum Sponsor for our 2019 Firefighter Burn Survivors Week. Next year’s event will be the week of January 20th through 26th. We are looking forward to another amazing year of programing with our friends Adaptive Sports Center. ... See MoreSee Less
DC Firefighters Burn Foundation added 2 new photos.
2 months ago
Over the past couple of days members of the foundation attended the North East Regional Burn Conference in Boston where they participated in workshops on firefighter burn injuries and partnering with your local burn center. Foundation president Jason Woods and DCFEMS Assistant Chief John Donnelly also lead a panel for the burn professionals on All Hazards Disaster Planning for the Fire Service along with Boston District Chief of Special Operations Dennis Costin. ... See MoreSee Less
Very thought provoking session. Always fun to catch up with Dennis Costin too!