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Virginia Beach’s first African American firefighter passes away

Tony Cooke

Tony Cooke

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The Virginia Beach Fire Department is mourning the loss of Retired Master Firefighter Anthony “Tony” Cooke.

Tony served in the United States Army, including a tour in Vietnam before becoming the first African American firefighter in Virginia Beach in 1976.

In 1986, he was awarded the Virginia Beach Fire Department’s Medal of Honor for rescuing four children from a fire in the Plaza Apartments on Dillon Drive.

Tony was a devoted Dallas Cowboys fan.

He will be laid to rest with full honors and a deep admiration from the Virginia Beach Fire Department.

The service is scheduled for Monday, January 2 at Freedom Fellowship Church in Virginia Beach. A procession will escort Retired Master Firefighter Cooke’s remains to the church for a viewing to be held at the church an hour before the service.

The service is limited to just family and friends and is not open to the public.