Firefighters remember Lake Mills FD captain killed in New year’s Eve crash

Published: Jan. 2, 2019 at 8:24 AM CST
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Compassionate is the one word his fellow firefighters and friends used to describe Captain Christoper Truman.

"Compassion was a big thing with Chris. He cared about everybody. He was that type of individual. From the newest guy on the department to the oldest guy. He always cared about how they felt, what they were doing. If there were any jobs to get done, we could count on Chris to do it... He was busy as heck, three jobs, but he always had time to get things done," said Rick Heinz, former Chief of the Lake Mills Fire Department.

The Lake Mills Fire Department held a press conference on Wednesday morning to share their memories of Truman.

"Obviously a very difficult time for myself, personally. For the department, I think one of the things that stands out... with Chris is that it goes directly to his personality and who he was. He was a firefighter that, no matter who needed the help, he was always the first one to step forward and provide that whether it was, formal response out of the station, here, or it was somebody as it was a few days ago on the side of the road who needed help. He was always the guy that would be first up to stand in to provide that help," said Captain Mark Bentheimer of the Lake Mills Fire Department.

“He died doing what he loved to do, helping people,” the acting Fire Chief of the Lake Mills Fire Department said. Captain Truman was a firefighter for 13 years. The last eight years he was a captain. Before that he worked for the Cambridge Fire Department.

The Monona Police Department said Truman pulled over and was helping a driver in a car that crashed on the eastbound side of the Beltline near Monona Drive on Monday evening. While Truman was assisting the driver, another vehicle hit him. He died from his injuries.

Lake Mills Chief of Police Mick Selek said, "He was coming to my house that night when we got the call so it's been difficult."

Police arrested Samuel Patrick Cremers for injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle and homicide intoxicated use of a vehicle.

"No matter who needed something on the first department, he was the same person that would take time out of his personal life, listen to whatever the first fighters or members of the community needed and he would step forward and provide that," said Bentheimer.

"He was always the one guy you could go to and no matter what he was doing he always had time to stop listen to what was going on in your life and was willing to go ahead and step forward and help you. There are very few people that have the compassion to go ahead and help individuals and I think probably the one word I would go ahead and describe is he is one of the most compassionate firefighters that I’ve ever met and I’ve been doing this over 35 years," added Bentheimer.

"It’s like somebody let the air out of us. Everybody just feels empty. A big hole," said David Sobek, firefighter and chaplain for the fire department.

The Lake Mills Fire Department Spaghetti Dinner will be held in two weeks. Truman was a big part of it.

Truman leaves behind a long-time girlfriend and three young adult children.

He loved fishing and rode a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. His passions were firefighting, fishing and family.

He worked three different jobs to support himself.