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Remembering Firefighter Dennis Rodeman

Posted: 9:03 AM, Sep 09, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-09 13:03:37Z

A firefighter, father, husband and veteran was killed one year ago today.

A hero to so many, Dennis Rodeman was 35 years old when he was hit by a car while collecting donations for charity in Lansing.

"He died doing what he loved," said Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, "which was being a firefighter and helping people."

September 9th, 2015 is a day that will stick in the minds of many.

That afternoon, Rodeman and his fellow firefighters were getting donations from drivers at the intersection of Cedar Street and Jolly Road.

Police say 23-year-old Grant Taylor had a confrontation with the group, drove away, then circled back, hitting and killing Rodeman.

"Nobody would have believed it, everybody is stunned," says Bernero.

"He was one of our most outgoing and just pleasant personalities on the department," says Chief Randy Talifarro with Lansing Fire.

Taylor was charged with murder. But, his murder trial has been delayed indefinitely because a judge has ruled he's incompetent.

It's a tragedy that inspired memorials and tributes, a road has even been named in Rodeman's honor.

A stretch of the Interstate-96 Business Route has been renamed as the "Lansing Firefighter Dennis E. Rodeman Memorial Highway."

It may be the grace of Rodeman's widow that has been most inspiring.

Kate, now raising the couple's son Blake, who will never meet his father, shared her strength with the community in an interview with News 10 about one month after her husband's death.

"I want to thank everyone for their support, their generosity, the love and the care, not just for me, my family, my baby," says Kate Rodeman.

Rodeman is a hometown hero, Mid-Michigan won't soon forget.

Rodeman's son Blake was born in March of this year.

There will be a private memorial today in his honor. It is not open to the public.