WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – This weekend is the Annual Humanitarian Awards dinner recognizing those who give back to our community, We met two of the winners and get an inside look at the work they do.
The dangerous work of fighting fires is often more than a job to these crews. It’s a calling. For Greg and Nancy Peters, it’s also where their romance sparked years ago.
“I liked her right off the bat, but I couldn’t let it be known,” said Capt. Greg Peters, Sedgwick County Fire Dept.
They met in the Fire Reserves. Greg was a lieutenant, and Nancy was new. But 10 months later, the two married and have shared their love of firefighting for 26 years, even passing it on to their son and daughter.
“Both of them truly have a servant’s heart,” Wendy Tucker, friend of the couple.
Tucker has worked with the Peters since 2011, helping them design a firefighter calendar. Proceeds from it fund projects like Fire Camp, where 6th through 9th graders learn what it’s like to be a firefighter.
“Several of the kids who went through Fire Camp later went through the fire science programs and have become firefighters. So that’s pretty cool,” said Wendy Tucker.
Calendar sales also pay for suicide prevention classes for first responders, and decontamination wipes to protect them from an increased risk of cancer.
“We are also at an age where we are watching our friends die,” said Nancy.
Even Greg himself is affected. Working on the Haz Mat team at this county fire station, his annual physical found the start of bladder cancer. He now tries to set an example for the next generation of firefighters.
“As soon as I pull off the gear, I go right to the truck and get the stuff off my skin,” said Greg.
Using what they’ve learned to educate others has earned them “The Humanitarian award.”
“My first response was, ‘I think you have the wrong couple!” said Nancy.
“To be recognized for doing what I love is,” said Greg. “I don’t know. It’s tough to grasp that.”
Humbling, he says because helping firefighters with this firefighter by his side is its own sweet reward.