Kentucky Brotherhood Riders and members of the Georgetown Fire Department unveiled Jacobs Drive early Thursday morning in honor of Battalion Chief Johnnie Jacobs. Jacobs died in January 2020 after suffering from a lung disease related to long-term smoke exposure.

Members of the Georgetown Fire Department and Kentucky Brotherhood Riders unveiled Jacobs Drive on Thursday morning.

Jacobs Drive was named in honor of Battalion Chief Johnnie Jacobs, who passed away in January 2020.

Jacobs served for 24 years as a firefighter before retiring in August 2018. He was diagnosed with Desquamative interstitial pneumonia, a disease associated with long-term exposure to chemicals and smoke. He underwent a double lung transplant 14 months before his death. 

The Kentucky Brotherhood Riders stopped for the unveiling as part of their four day, 400-plus mile ride in honor of fallen heroes like Jacobs. Riders from the Kentucky, Louisiana, Texas and South Carolina Brotherhoods are partaking in the third annual ride.

“We’re just sorry about the loss that you suffered,” said JT Bass, Kentucky Brotherhood rider from the Louisville Division of Fire and Pleasure Ridge Park Fire District. “We want you to know that we care. We say all the time, Kentucky’s never going to forget. These people empathize and we sure do sympathize with your brotherhood too. We know what you’re missing.”

Ben Peel, Georgetown Fire Department firefighter and Kentucky Brotherhood rider, became emotional as he spoke about remembering Jacobs.

“We’re going to suffer for four days, 400 miles roughly,” said Peel. “The big thing is we can’t get Johnnie back so we want to do this so you guys remember. It’s so you guys don’t forget.”

Riders gifted the Jacobs family with a signed plaque made from bourbon barrels and dog tags. 

Jacobs’ wife, Katie, said her husband loved the community and made it his goal to get everyone home safely from their shifts.

“His number one goal every shift, he would always tell me, is that he’s going to get his people back home to their families at the end of their shifts. He wanted them to do a good job and also get home safe and he took that very seriously every shift,” Katie said.

Georgetown Fire Department Chief Eric Colson said the unveiling of Jacobs Drive will solidify the memories of Jacobs.

“Battalion Chief Jacobs meant a lot to this department and we can never repay what he did. All we can do is have the memories. Today we are going to solidify that,” said Colson.

Katie said one of her fears is that Jacobs would be forgotten, but the naming of Jacobs Drive will help the community remember him.

“I think Johnnie would be truly humbled by all of this. He would be uncomfortable but he would be truly humbled and appreciate everything. Thank you all so much for what you’re doing,” Katie said.


Abby Hooven can be reached at ahooven@news-graphic.com.

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