A hero is gone, but his legacy of compassion still remains throughout Oklahoma.
Former Oklahoma City Assistant Fire Chief Jon Hansen died on Friday morning in his home with his family at his side. He was 65.
Hansen's face is well remembered in Oklahoma and across the nation. As the assistant chief and later a public information officer, Hansen was one of the icons of goodness that emerged from the devastation and tragedy of the 1995 OKC bombing.
Gov. Mary Fallin expressed sympathies to Hansen's family, saying his death is a great loss for the state.
"His calm voice reassured everyone who was watching that process with an implied promise that we could overcome the terror of that tragic morning," a statement said. "He personified the Oklahoma Standard before we had even put a name to it. He will be missed.”
Hansen served on the OKCFD from 1973 until he retired in July 1999.
He began his career in November 1973. He was promoted through the ranks and became the fire marshal for the department in 1995, where he served for three years. As assistant fire chief, he also served as the public information officer for the department.
According to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, Hansen had been battling cancer for about a year.
The fire department released this statement:
"The Oklahoma City Fire Department is saddened to learn of the passing of Assistant Fire Chief (retired) Jon Hansen. Chief Hansen passed away this morning in his home with his family at his side.
Chief Hansen was a well-respected fire service leader, not only within the Oklahoma City Fire Department, but throughout the state and the nation. His positive influence will be missed, but the impact he made on those who knew him will be a permanent one. His contagious, positive demeanor truly touched many hearts and lives over the years.
Our thoughts, support, and prayers are with Cory, Jill, Norene, Kathy, and other members of Chief Hansen’s family as they navigate through this difficult time."
Hansen was quickly thought of as a hero who, through his service, unknowingly created a legacy that reached across state borders and touched all Americans struggling with the tragic news.
For many Oklahomans, his kind demeanor and his ability to project strength are unforgettable.
Click the attached video to watch a 2001 piece from LeAnne Taylor, which focuses on Hansen's contributions of service and how Oklahoma's finest were the glue that held the state together in its darkest hours.