GREAT FALLS — One year ago Great Falls Fire Rescue lost Engineer Jason Baker, a fighter of not only fires but cancer.
Baker was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2016, and had no choice but to retire at the end of 2017.
Throughout his battle with cancer, Baker served as a champion for Montana firefighters’ health and safety efforts.
Baker finally lost his 2-year battle with cancer last February.
A year after his passing Jason's friend and fellow firefighter, Battalion Chief David Van Son, shared some fond memories of his brother by bond.
“In the fire service we call each other brothers and sisters because that’s what we are...he worked hard for his fellow brother and sister firefighters,” Van Son said.
Van Son described Jason as a man beloved by many, with a great sense of humor and a winning smile.
“He had this charismatic smile that everyone -I mean across the state- could recognize his smile,” Van Son said.
The battalion chief said Baker left behind a legacy of helping others within his home, department, and community.
“[He was a] huge family man, loved his wife and kids and would do anything for them. He would do anything for us too,” Van Son said.
Baker looked out for his fellow firefighters, helping to implement safer practices for Great Falls Fire Rescue. Now the firefighters take preventative measures thanks to his efforts.
“Our department is leading the state of clean cabs. We don't have dirty gear in our cabs anymore. We’re cleaning our stuff. We’re taking it off at the scene, rinsing it off. We’re coming back and taking immediate showers and we’re doing everything we can to prevent our exposure to those toxic gases that we can so we don't have to go through this again.
Jason also served his community -as a leader in Great Falls Fire Rescue’s Coats for Kids Program and an ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association
“He had such an impact...He was an amazing person,” Van Son said.