The village of Buffalo Grove is mourning the loss of veteran firefighter/paramedic Kevin Hauber, who bravely fought colon cancer for four years before succumbing to the disease Saturday.
Hauber, who turned 51 earlier this month, was surrounded by his family, including his wife and four young daughters, at the time of his death, fire department officials said Monday.
"Kevin fought long and hard all while still on the job protecting the people of Buffalo Grove, which was his true passion," the Hauber family said in statement released by the village Monday, "He grew up in Buffalo Grove and became a firefighter because his childhood dream was to protect and serve."
Growing up, Hauber and his twin brother, Jim, also a Buffalo Grove firefighter/paramedic, idolized the characters on the 1970s television show "Emergency!" about the crew of a California fire department.
While undergoing chemotherapy treatments in 2014, Hauber met one of the stars of the show, Randy Mantooth, and was able to tell him how "Emergency!" motivated him and his brother to become firefighters. Mantooth signed a picture of the twin brothers as little boys during the meeting, an experience Hauber cherished, officials said.
Hauber began his full-time career in Buffalo Grove in 1994 as a firefighter/paramedic. In 2004, he joined the Associated Firefighters of Illinois Honor Guard, which provides final honors to fallen firefighters throughout the state.
Buffalo Grove Fire Chief Mike Baker said Hauber deeply believed in the mission of the honor guard and always made himself available to serve at events that honored fallen comrades. The AFFI Honor Guard presented Hauber with the 2018 Donald J. Bower Commitment to Excellence Award for his dedication and commitment.
"Kevin was a caring, loving person who was always happy and never had anything bad to say about anyone, even when he was sick," Baker said. "He is already missed."
A wake will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, at Glueckert Funeral Home, 1520 N. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights. A funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday at St. Mary's Church, 50 N. Buffalo Grove Rd, Buffalo Grove.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Hauber Children's Education Fund, c/o Glueckert Funeral Home.