German Family Visits FWFD for Fallen Firefighter Husband's Dream

Published 08/01 2014 01:37PM

Updated 08/01 2014 01:50PM

Fulfilling her fallen firefighter husband's dream to visit the United States, one woman and her children have flown to the Summit City all the way from Germany.

WFFT's Rohma Siddiqui joined the Fort Wayne Fire Department to welcome the family and has more on what they plan to do during their stay.

"This was Dirk's dream and I'm so proud that somebody supports us so much that we can live his dream."

Cindy Fankhanel and her two young sons, 12 year old John Louis, and 6 year old Julian are fulfilling her fallen husband's dream.

"I want to thank all that support us and it's great.  It's amazing feeling for us, unbelievable."

2 years ago, the Fankhanel family began a friendship thousands of miles away with Fort Wayne Firefighter Bryan Peterson.  Dirk's biggest dream was always to visit the US and now his family is living that dream.  Unfortunately, the visit is bitter sweet, because Dirk was killed in the line of duty, battling a fire in Germany.

"It started out when I first kinda pitched the idea.  I got almost an immediate response from the German Heritage Society here in Fort Wayne and they said you know what, we're going to support this however we can financially."

This trip was made possible through private donations from local firefighters and businesses around Fort Wayne.  Fireman Peterson and the donors have a lot planned during the family's 2 week stay which includes meeting Mayor Tom Henry and going to Cedar Point.

"Next week, Cindy and the boys plan to take a train all the way to Capitol Hill because they've always wanted to see the White House."

The family is grateful to Peterson for making Dirk's dream come true.  To show their gratitude, Cindy presented Bryan with her late husband's uniform and calendar from his fire department in Germany.

"A friend for life."

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