The faculty and staff of the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute (MU FRTI) were saddened to learn of the passing of Fire Service Instructor John Sachen. John passed away on June 21, 2013. We wish to express our sincerest condolences to John's family, fire department, and many friends, colleagues, and former students.
John was born in Kansas City, MO, on April 21, 1936. He entered the profession of firefighting as a reserve firefighter in the early 1950s while still in high school. John attended both St. Louis University and the University of Missouri majoring in Chemical Engineering. He served in the United States Air Force from 1956 to 1961 where he received his first instructor training. In the USAF, he performed duties as an Academic/Tactical Instructor in the field of communications and electronics. After the Air Force, John's early career was in the communications industry in the New York area. However through the years, he remained in the fire service as a firefighter and instructor with local fire departments. John returned to Missouri in 1973, working in the communication and electronics industry and eventually Mallinckrodt Chemical Company serving as Chief of Fire Protection and Chemical Response.
John became a guest instructor with the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute in 1978. He helped plan and teach in the first Winter Fire School training event held in 1982, and remained on-board as a fire school instructor for many years. John served MU FRTI as an Adjunct Instructor, Industrial Training Coordinator, and as one of the Institute's Senior Fire Instructors. John was the recipient of the MU FRTI Instructor of the Year Award for 2006–2007. He taught a wide and diverse variety of courses along with authoring and developing a number of courses for the Institute. Two of John's most notable courses for the Institute in recent years were "Ignitable Liquids and Class B Foam" and "Killer in the Attic." As a member of the Delta Fire Protection District, John served in a variety of capacities including Fire Instructor and Haz-mat Officer. He was also an annual presenter at the Cape County Regional Fire School in Cape Girardeau.
Throughout John Sachen's life, he displayed a passion for and dedication to the fire service and its mission of service and protection of our citizens. He was keenly aware of the inherent hazardous that career and volunteer firefighters face in performing their duties. As such he worked tirelessly to educate and train Missouri's and the nation's fire and emergency service first responders. Most recently, when I spoke with John, he was working on a new training course that he was planning to be able to present at the next Fire School. This exemplifies his dedication and commitment to training firefighters, which he demonstrated to the very end.
John Sachen touched many lives and was a role model to everyone with whom he came into contact, especially those who learned the profession of firefighting from him, were mentored and helped by him, were his fellow firefighters, and who worked with him at MU FRTI. We will all cherish the memory of Fire Instructor John Sachen. John was a dedicated Fire Service Professional that contributed much on behalf of many.
At each firefighter's passing whether in Line of Duty or at the end of their lifespan, it is only fitting that we pay tribute for their service and dedication to protecting others. John certainly led an exemplary life in the fire service and is worthy of a traditional fire service tribute: God's Speed Fire Instructor Sachen – well done thy true and faithful servant!
On Behalf of the MU FRTI Faculty and Staff,
Fire and Rescue Training Institute
University of Missouri Extension