'Grieving,’ 'Processing': Norman Fire Department To Honor Firefighter Who Died In Accident

"The Norman Fire Department continues grieving and processing our loss (Tuesday). Levi Wilkins lived with fervor and joy and did everything in his power to live his adventure," King said in the statement. "The outpouring of love from his fire department co-workers is a testament to the far-reaching inspiration he was and is."

Tuesday, September 26th 2023, 5:26 pm

By: Chris Yu


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The Norman Fire Department said it plans to create a memorial in honor of a firefighter who died in a rock-climbing accident.

The memorial for 36-year-old Levi Wilkins will be on Fire Department property "to recognize the lasting impact he has had on our community," said Fire Chief Travis King in a statement on Tuesday.

"The Norman Fire Department continues grieving and processing our loss (Tuesday). Levi Wilkins lived with fervor and joy and did everything in his power to live his adventure," King said in the statement. "The outpouring of love from his fire department co-workers is a testament to the far-reaching inspiration he was and is."

Wilkins died in a rock-climbing accident at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge on Sept. 22, said his wife, Emily, on Facebook.

"He was the most incredible husband, father, son, brother and friend," Emily Wilkins said in her post. "Having been together since we were 16, I don’t know how to do life without him and I never wanted to learn."

In addition to being a family man, Wilkins was a cancer survivor.

"It's all surreal that it feels like I might wake up from the dream in the morning and it's all over," Wilkins told News 9 in August 2019 after he was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer.

Despite the advanced stage of the cancer, Wilkins beat it and returned to work. His friends were not surprised by his resilience.

"I don't think cancer realizes who it's picking on. I fully expect him to make a 100% recovery," said fellow firefighter Cody Goodnight in 2019.

Wilkins' wife, Emily, is encouraging family and friends to share fond memories of her husband by posting stories on this website. Emily Wilkins said she hopes to share those stories with her children.

One of the submitted stories mentioned Wilkins dressed as Mr. Clean for Halloween. The poster said even though Wilkins was battling cancer at the time, "he used his illness to its full potential and put smiles on all our faces. It was the bravest thing I’ve seen in a very long time."

To support the Wilkins family, a Meal Train page has been set up. Click here to provide them meals or make a monetary donation.

Wilkins' funeral service is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 10 a.m. at McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church, located at 419 S. University Blvd. in Norman.

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