Glendale fire chief: 'A thousand thank you cards not enough' aft - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Glendale fire chief: 'A thousand thank you cards not enough' after firefighter's death

Jonathan French died Aug. 6 along southbound I-65 near Glendale (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News) Jonathan French died Aug. 6 along southbound I-65 near Glendale (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News)
Chief Richard Peters, Glendale firefighters and members of fallen firefighter Jonathan French's family gathered at a news conference. (Source: Steven Richard) Chief Richard Peters, Glendale firefighters and members of fallen firefighter Jonathan French's family gathered at a news conference. (Source: Steven Richard)
Chief Richard Peters (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News) Chief Richard Peters (Source: Steven Richard, WAVE 3 News)

GLENDALE, KY (WAVE) - The chief of Glendale's volunteer fire department expressed gratitude on Tuesday for the outpouring of support following the death of firefighter Jonathan French in the line of duty.

"A thousand thank you cards is not enough," said Chief Richard Peters.

[SLIDESHOW: Glendale firefighter killed in crash]

French, 25, was killed on Aug. 6 while battling a van fire along southbound Interstate 65 near Glendale when a tractor trailer side-swiped a fire truck and hit French and his mother, Lisa French, a fellow volunteer firefighter. Lisa French was seriously injured in the incident.

Peters, who is also Lisa French's brother and Jonathan French's uncle, was surrounded by other family members and firefighters outside the Glendale Fire Department when he thanked the public, the Kentucky Fire Commission and others.

[PREVIOUS STORY: First responders come together to honor fallen firefighter in Glendale]

"The list is too long," said Peters.

He singled out the Hardin County Fire Chiefs Association. "They've been by our side through the whole thing," Peters said.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Community bids farewell to fallen firefighter]

The chief also thanked Supporting Heroes, an organization that provides support to the loved ones left behind after law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS workers die in the line of duty. "They helped us transport Lisa back and forth for visitation and the funeral," said Peters. "That was greatly appreciated because we couldn't have done it without them."

Peters said his sister was able to attend all of the services for her son, from the candlelight vigil held Friday night inside the Glendale Fire Department to the funeral on Monday, Aug. 11. She was expected to be readmitted to a hospital later in the week for surgeries on her right leg.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Fire crews, officers give final salute to fallen firefighter]

"She said to thank everybody for their continued support, continued prayers," said Peters, "and she said to please keep that coming her way because she's going to need that now more than ever."

Peters also expressed support for "Shut It Down," a Facebook campaign aimed at getting interstates shut down as soon as any type of emergency happens so first responders don't have to work alongside traffic.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Glendale firefighters hit in fatal I-65 accident were mother and son]

"Somebody heard about the incident with Jonathan and set forth to name that campaign in his honor," Peters said. "We are encouraging all fire departments across the state of Kentucky to get behind that Shut It Down movement."

Peters said the hope is that his nephew's death won't be in vain.

"Until that happened... nobody even knew the name Jonathan French. Now, he's well-known across the nation, and hopefully, his name will be the one that makes a difference... It's going to make a difference somewhere. Something good's about to happen."

The Glendale Fire Department is relying on neighboring fire agencies to handle emergencies while its members take about two weeks off to grieve, Peters said.

"We know there have been some incidents in our area, and we're antsy to get back on the trucks," Peters said. "We kind of feel like that's what Jonathan would want us to do. He doesn't want us sitting around watching somebody else take care of what he loved to do."

A fund set up to help the French family with medical expenses and other financial burdens is now known as the French Family Benefit Fund. Donations may be made at any West Point Bank location. Previously, the fund was in the name of another of Peters' sisters.

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