Fire Rescue Lt. Andrew Keppler recently retired after a 28-year career that began in 1993 with the St. John’s Park Volunteer Fire Department, which is now Flagler County Station 71.
The Keppler Family has a storied history in Flagler County. Andrew and his brother, John III – also a lieutenant with Fire Rescue – followed the family’s firefighting tradition that dates back to 1860. The county’s fire training tower is named for their father John Jr., who earned the rank of captain at the St. John’s Park Volunteer Fire Department and responded to his last call on March 21, 2002. (See: “18 Years Later, Flagler Finally Recognizes Firefighter John Keppler Jr.’s Line-of-Duty Death With a Memorial.“
“This is the first time in decades the Brothers Keppler are not on a fire department together,” said John III, while boasting of his brother’s knowledge and skill level. “He will always be known as a firemen’s fireman, the type of guy you want backing you up.”
Andrew was among the scores of firefighters who battled the 1998 wildfires that ravaged Flagler County and led to the first, and only, countywide evacuation. The fires – which consumed 148,000 acres, destroyed 71 homes, and damaged another 200 – burned from June 6 to July 12 at a time when most firefighters in the area were volunteer.
He was hired by Flagler County in 2000 as one of the first paid fulltime firefighters. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2010.
Andrew was a member of the Technical Rescue Team (TRT) that in 2017 helped rescue a worker trapped at the top of the water tower in Palm Coast. He was also a member of the Wildland Team, specially trained to fight wildfires.
He has been involved on both the training and teaching spectrums of Flagler County Fire Rescue. He was a founding instructor for the Fire Leadership Academy at Flagler Palm Coast High School from 2017 to 2019.
Over the course of his career, Andrew has received awards, honors, and letters of commendation including the following:
· Letter of commendation for rescuing victims of a plane crash in March 2001
· Letter of commendation for rescuing a man from his submerged vehicle in August 2013
· National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution emergency services award
· Appreciation of Service from the Columbian Club of Flagler County
· Kiwanis Firefighter of the Year
Andrew is enjoying his retirement with his family – his wife Jennie, son Mason, and daughter Katie.
“I had the opportunity to work with Lt. Keppler at the State Fire Marshal’s Office as he led the Fire Leadership Academy,” Fire Rescue Chief Mike Tucker said. “Through that program several of graduates are now working as paramedics and firefighters serving the citizens of Flagler County. Lt. Keppler’s leadership has impacted the lives of people positively and that legacy will last for decades. His investment of himself into the Fire Rescue family has left its mark, and he will be missed. We are better because he was part of us, and we wish him well in the next chapter of his life.”
Thank You for Your Service. Best of luck to you.
Ria Geary says
You gave a lot!
Thank you for serving our community.
Patrick DelSordo says
Andrew, it was a pleasure serving with you at St. Johns Park Volunteer Fire Department in the 90’s. Lots of memories with you, John and Dad (John Jr.) . I am proud to say , ” I knew you when” . Congratulations on a safe and heroic career and THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE
Roy Longo says
Congratulations Andy! Enjoy every minute of retirement!
Your service to the community is very much appreciated, wishing you a joyous retirement.
A true hero. Thanks for your service
Jane Gentile-Youd says
Thank you for your service and long term devotion to Flagler County. Best of luck in your future endeavors.