Andrea Manske dreamed of becoming a firefighter, a line of work she was passionate about, family members say.
The daughter of a fire chief, Manske volunteered as a firefighter for Auburn-based Mountain View Fire & Rescue, Station 95. She was dedicated to succeeding in her professional life – her calling, her way to help others.
But Manske, who had long-range plans to complete paramedic school, never got the chance to build that career. Her promising life was cut short by a motor vehicle accident in 2011. She was 23 years old.
In her honor, Manske’s family has donated thousands of dollars to Mountain View Fire & Rescue for training and lifesaving equipment. Purchases have included four thermal imaging cameras and a mobile Smart Board for training new firefighters.
“She’s part of our family. To have her family give us (this equipment) to save a life is invaluable,” said Tim Perciful, Mountain View Fire & Rescue Fire & Life Safety educator and spokesman, at a ceremony Saturday morning at Station 95. “It’s so important, and it shows the caring and the love that these people have given us, and the caring and the love she continues to give us.”
As a reminder, a Firefighter Manske plaque-like message decorates three of the department’s first-line fire engines where her family donated thermal imaging cameras. The cameras have several uses, Perciful said, but their primary function is a search tool in a structure fire, detecting heat and allowing the firefighter to find a victim in an environment with little or no visibility.
“The cameras are a wonderful metaphor for Andrea since firefighters not only keep this device clipped to their jacket near their heart, but it is like she is helping us see what a firefighter’s naked eye may not be able to see,” Perciful said. “We miss Firefighter Manske and are truly thankful for how she has continued to help the community several years after she left us in such a tragic way.”
Members of the Manske family were at the ceremony. They wrote:
“Andrea was a beautiful woman who had a heart of gold, was fun and very caring. If you were fortunate enough to have known Andrea, you had a friend for life. Andrea was the type of person who always put others first and would give the shirt off her back for anyone. Her giving ways and generous soul were always portrayed in any friendship she had in her life.”