A well-known Maple Ridge firefighter passed away on Wednesday afternoon, after having suffered a massive heart attack.
Lieutenant Dennis TeBoekhorst of the Maple Ridge Fire Department collapsed on Friday, Oct. 21. He was fishing at the time, and had just returned to his truck when he began having difficulties. A passing firefighter from the Mission Fire Department witnessed TeBoekhorst in distress and stopped to help. The firefighter got assistance from other fishermen, and called 911.
TeBoekhorst went into cardiac arrest a short time after. Mission Fire/Rescue Service and paramedics attended the scene, and he was taken to Ridge Meadows Hospital, where he was stabilized for transport to the Royal Columbian Hospital Cardiac Care Unit. He was eventually returned to Ridge Meadows Hospital and placed in ICU, where he remained on a ventilator.
Doctors discovered he had suffered a catastrophic brain injury, from which he could not recover.
TeBoekhorst was a long-time resident who graduated from Maple Ridge secondary in 1992.
In 2010, he donated one of his kidneys to his daughter, who was suffering from bilateral kidney failure. The TeBoekhorsts have since been a big part of the Children’s Hospital charity programs and strong proponents of the organ donor program.
“True to his giving nature, his organs will be donated,” noted Maple Ridge Fire Chief Howard Exner.
He will be donating his kidney, liver, lungs and eyes to waiting recipients.
The family released a statement on social media:
“We want to thank everyone for the thoughts, prayers and support. It means a lot at this time.”
Exner called TeBoekhorst a “go-to firefighter, always ready to answer the call of duty, from many charity events to any call. Being large and in charge, he will be sorely missed here at the fire department.
“The thoughts and prays of his firefighting family are heartily extended to his wife, children, family and his many friends.”
Exner said TeBoekhorst’s passing is being treated as a line of duty death, and information regarding the LODD service shall be forthcoming.
“Now we are asking for your help in supporting his young children with a scholarship fund,” said Exner. “Dennis was only 42 years old and leaves behind a huge hole that can never be replaced. But we can make it a little easier by ensuring Melissa doesn’t have to worry about their financial future.”
See donation information at the page https://fundrazr.com/forDennis
Social media has been alive with tributes about the late firefighter.
“This is a sad day for Maple Ridge. Dennis was much loved by many. Love to his family, friends and colleagues in the fire department,” said Coun. Craig Speirs.
“Rest in peace Dennis. Maple Ridge will never be the same. You lived a hero… you died a hero!” said Angela Sherwood.
“Rest in peace Dennis, our family will never forget you. A true hero in our eyes. Thank you for being there for my dad when he was down and thank you for your services. Thoughts are with all members of Maple Ridge Firefighters, IAFF 4449 and family,” said Mike Dee.