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Special Report: Fire and Ice

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (FORT WAYNE'S NBC) - "You don't often see the guys faces, when you see a fire truck get on scene. Then they are gone, once everything is done. You have no idea who they are," Kevin Bertram said.

Now we reveal a few of the faces under the helmets.

They're use to protecting the Fort on ice, as Fort Wayne Komets.

Now they're wearing a new uniform to support the community, who cheered them on night after night.

"You go on the ice and you feel that energy," Bertram said.

"They would played welcome to the jungle," Kelly Hurd said. "Just the goosebumps, when you go out on the ice, people are cheering."

Kelly Hurd, Kevin Bertram and Parris Duffus tune it all out until...

"You score that goal and then you hear that roar," Bertram said.

Now these former Komets are fired up by a different sound.

Instead of stepping on the ice, they're preparing to fight fires.

"I was the last of the guys to get on the fire department," Bertram said. "There's some other guys that paved that way and showed me that avenue."

"I talked with Kelly Hurd, my former teammate, and you get to be a part of the team and get to help people," Duffus said.

But at first, Hurd put up with a lot of jokes from the veteran firefighters.

"They were all like "superstar", and all this kind of stuff. I just wanted to be regular and fit in," Hurd said.

As a hockey player, Hurd was motivated to win. Now he finds extra strength to wear his new uniform, from a six year-old boy named Skyler Tumbleson.

"Skyler was a part of the Make A Wish Foundation. He wanted to be on a fire truck. We took him around Franke Park and made his wish come true," Hurd said.

Skyler passed away shortly after, but he's never too far away.

"I carry it with me wherever I go. It's been at Station 15, Station 10 where I was assigned," Hurd said. "Now it's with me at Station 11."

A constant reminder about why these guys do what they do.

"That brings me more pride, than winning hockey championships. Although that was fun," Bertram said.

"I was the first Komets player ever turned into a bobble head," Bertram said. "It's kind of a hockey player, firefighter combo."

Bertram's hockey career was fulfilling, but being a firefighter has paid off even more.

"It's more satisfying to look at a newspaper clipping from when I first got on the fire department than winning a championship," Bertram said.

For Hurd, it's the ultimate opportunity to give back to the people, who cheered him on in the jungle.

"It was an amazing run playing hockey," Hurd said. "The people that have had my back. It's just amazing to be a firefighter in the community and hopefully have their back at some time."

There are now four former Komets players in the Fort Wayne Fire Department. Jim Logan was not mentioned in this story, but has a similar background.

Megan Salle

Megan Salle is the Sports Reporter and Weekend Sports Anchor for Fort Wayne’s NBC.

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