LFD says farewell to first female firefighter

CATHY ALLRED - Daily Herald
Today fire trucks will line 200 North in Lehi and firefighters, friends and family will bid farewell to Lehi's first female firefighter.

Amanda "Mandi" Hadfield Beck, 27, died Feb. 17 from respiratory complications due to cancer. She battled the disease for more than three years.

"She was wonderful, she never complained," said Dale Ekins, Lehi fire chief. "She always had a smile on her face, she loved everybody."

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. today at the Lehi LDS Stake Center at 200 N. Center St. Her hearse will enter the Lehi Cemetery under a U.S. flag held high between two fire ladder trucks.

E-mails were sent out to all municipal fire departments within Utah and Lehi Fire Chief Dale Ekins expects to see 20 to 30 fire engines brought in as part of the funeral ceremony. Lehi police will block off 200 North and the trucks will line the street to honor her, said LFD Capt. Ricky Evans. Firefighters in dress uniform will stand at attention between the church where her funeral will be and the hearse. The firefighters will then get in the trucks lining the street and follow the hearse to the Lehi Cemetery.

Flags in Lehi have been at half-staff since her death and several other cities' fire departments have lowered their flags in support of Lehi firefighters and to honor Beck.

The American Fork Fire Department was one of those that put its flag at half-staff.

"She was a very driven person, but at the same time very concerned about others. Just a very good person," said Reed Thompson, American Fork firefighter and EMT. "I knew her, I guess a little bit through mutual aid opportunities that we had. Occasionally we'll get called over to Lehi to help with an incident and they will come over and help us."

When Thompson was earning his EMT certification, Beck helped out with the class that he took.

"She was very outgoing, always there to help other people," he said. "She was very good as far as teaching went."

The daughter of Doug and Suzanne Hadfield, Beck worked as an intermediary technician in the American Fork Hospital emergency room and oversaw EMT training.

Beck became a firefighter in 1999 when she was 21 years old. Four years later, her doctor operated on what he thought would be a benign tumor. A week later, a second doctor found colon cancer that had spread to other parts of her body. He gave her three months to live.

Jacob "Jake" Beck, also a Lehi firefighter, married Mandi Hadfield in 2003, one month after surgery, her father said, they were later sealed in an LDS temple on April Fool's Day 2004.

Her fellow firefighters sponsored fundraisers to help pay for medical expenses.

"I know we've had numerous fundraisers," Ekins said. "We've had this cancer walk for the last two or three years and they had a few initially ... Mandi actually spoke at a couple of those."

She wasn't just a token female firefighter, Ekins said, she did her job, she was active and took part.

"She was on the party committee, even in her last month she helped on the training committee," he said. "She has been kind of limited in the last little while doing strenuous things, but she died an active firefighter."