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Boys Town Fire Chief dies after 48 years serving institute

Boys Town Fire Chief John Sing
Posted at 12:37 PM, Nov 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-11 13:37:50-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — For 48 years, John Sing served the Boys Town Fire Department here in Omaha. Before becoming a firefighter, Sing spent time at the institute, watching his father serve the reformatory. Today, Boys Town has confirmed he has died.

Boys Town says it does not know the cause of Sing's death but has released the following about his service at Boys Town:

What does it feel like when a person finds their calling? For Boys Town Fire Chief John Sing, it felt a bit like coming home.

John Sing grew up watching his father work in multiple roles at Boys Town. He served alongside Monsignor Wegner and Monsignor Schmidt in the Boys Town Music Hall and also as a Captain of the Boys Town Sheriff’s Department. Witnessing his father’s fulfilling work made an impression on young John.

Later, in 1971, Sing was a new firefighter, ready to launch into the next chapter of his career. He had accepted a position with the Denver fire department, but it seemed that fate had other plans for him.

Just before he left Omaha, Monsignor Wegner made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: to join the Boys Town Fire Brigade instead. Sing’s father had passed away a year prior, but he still remembered the important work he’d seen being done at Boys Town. He decided to follow his heart, accepted the position and has been here ever since.

Throughout the 70’s, Sing went on to implement multiple impactful changes. For one, he saw that the Boys Town Fire Brigade became an official municipal fire department. In addition to his position as fire chief, he also took on the role of Director of the Fire and Safety Department. He even started the Fire Cadet Program, offering youth the chance to learn more about what the fire services department does. For Sing, the program has been a success primarily because of the enthusiasm of the young cadets: “We saw how interested they were, and it blossomed.”

When asked how he knew this was the place for him, Sing hardly hesitates: “It’s the kids. That’s what Boys Town is all about. I’ve watched many of them grow up.” In addition to his connection to the youth, Chief Sing’s hard work and commitment to the Boys Town mission have greatly served his community for years. For him, working here is unlike any other job, saying that “you forget how long you’ve been here.”

In June, Chief Sing celebrated his 48th year at Boys Town.