National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Age: 33
Year of Death: 2013

Kevin William Sanders

Kevin William Sanders was born outside Chicago on October 13, 1979, to Duane and Sandra Sanders. He grew up in Palos Hills, Illinois, and graduated from Marist High School in 1997. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and from Parkland College in 2003 with a veterinary technician certification.

Kevin truly believed in the strength and goodness of people. His passion in life was helping and caring for others. He held registered veterinary technician positions in Champaign, Illinois; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Plainfield, Illinois; Waco, Texas; and Hewitt, Texas. Kevin always did what he thought was right and strove to be the best he could be. He taught at Fox College in Tinley Park, Illinois, and McLennan Community College in Texas, inspiring greatness in his students. Kevin lived for the service of others through his participation in the Plainfield Emergency Management Agency in Illinois and the Bruceville-Eddy Volunteer Fire Department in Texas. He was soon to be an emergency medical technician, having just passed his skills test.

Kevin loved caring for animals, working on cars, restoring his 1970 Dodge Charger, listening to music, and attending concerts, watching the Chicago Bears and the Fighting Illini, playing paintball, and spending time with his family.

Kevin is survived by his wife, Sarah Sanders; his son, Reeve Sanders; his mother, Sandra Sanders; his maternal grandmother, Eleanore Frey; a sister, Jeanette (Tim) White and their two sons, Nolan and Alex White; a brother, Scott (Allison Muscolino) Sanders; and many friends and extended family. Kevin was preceded in death by his father, Duane Sanders.

Kevin died in the West Fertilizer Plant explosion on April 17, 2013. He was doing what he loved to do by serving and protecting others and will be forever remembered as a hero.

Memorial Posts


Memorial Wall

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  1. Kevin was a dear friend to my husband and I. He always wanted to help everyone, even with the little things. His legacy carries on as we remember who he was and strive to be more like Kevin “Superman” Sanders. I wish I had more time with him to get to know all the sides of Kevin, but I am loving getting to watch his son grow up and his wife blossom into such a strong woman. Love you Sarah and Reeve!

    – Susan Akers
  2. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my dear friend. He was such a positive energy and inspiration to all. His ability to strike up a conversation with anyone, and make them feel like friends, is a talent that I had always admired. If we all strive to be half the person he was, the world would truly be a better place. Miss you, sir!

    – Amanda Fye
  3. You are greatly missed by your family. Their love is never-ending.

    Deanilee Deckard
  4. Kevin was my best friend, we grew up as next-door neighbors, worked at the same place during high school, and had the privilege of being his best man at his wedding. We did a lot of things together. I miss him very much as we would always be there for each other. He was always willing to help others without complaining. His legacy will live in in the hearts of many and glad to know that his son will get to know him through the stories. There is so much more, but is very difficult to write at the moment. We all miss you and will be together in heaven someday, keep your watch over us. Love you and your family always as if they are part of mine.

    – Rob Wehofer
  5. I never had the Honor of meeting Kevin in person. But, I have had the Honor of learning about him through his family. He is, in all aspects, a hero. Sarah and Reeve, Jeanette, Tim Alex and Nolan, Scott and Allison, and all of the other wonderful family and friends I have meet, THANK YOU for honoring all of our fallen heroes. You have become and will always be…Family.

    Jamey Shipler
    Honor Guard Commander
    Grapevine Fire Department
    “For Our Fallen”

    – Jamey Shipler
  6. Kevin there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you. You were not only a friend, but you were also family. You always helped a person no matter what it was. I look at Reeve and see your smile on his face, and have watched Sarah be one of the strongest people I know. Watching Reeve grow up, and see his pictures and videos. I love you Sarah and Reeve. Love and Prayers to all his family during this upcoming week. Happy Heavenly Birthday Kevin <3

    – Heather Lawhon
  7. We had met Kevin only a few times, but it was clear this act of heroism reflected the kind, generous person he was. We are so happy his family will be there to see him be honored for his heroism.

    – The Finnamore Family
  8. Kevin was a true hero. He was a wonderful friend to all (those with 2 legs or 4 legs!) He was a loving husband and father and his first thought when that alarm rang was to immediately go to those in need. He is an angel watching over his family, friends and the emergency responders whom he worked so closely with in Texas and Plainfield, IL. He is really missed.

    – Margie Bonuchi
  9. you are greatly missed

    – carol specht
  10. You never hesitated to help anyone in need. You’ll always be our Superman. Much love to your son, may he carry forward your kind heart and generosity.

    – Heather Burke
  11. I met Kevin when he started working at our animal hospital as an assistant while he was in high school. He was funny, kind-hearted, dedicated, and goofy! His personality and ability to make people smile was infectious. I was not surprised to learn he was pursuing a career as a firefighter as his desire to help, people or animals, was apparent when I met him. I will forever think of Kevin when I see anything Superman related; my husband and I stopped in Metropolis, Illinois on a road trip a few years ago in Kevin’s honor. I hope Reeve can read these tributes someday and know what an amazing person his father was. He will forever be missed by all that had the good fortune to meet him.

    – Denise Young