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Lexington's newest school named in honor of a firefighter who was shot and killed in the line of duty

Posted at 12:21 PM, Aug 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-12 17:22:59-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Lexington's newest elementary school has been named in honor of a firefighter who was shot and killed in the line of duty.

Lieutenant Brenda Cowan was the first black, female firefighter in the city of Lexington.

Cowan was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call over 15 years ago.

Many of Cowan's past and present colleagues like to remember her life instead of her death.

Cowan was promoted to lieutenant one month before her death on February 13, 2004.

On that day, Cowan rushed to help a shooting victim when she was shot and killed. It is a day that her brother, UK basketball star Freddie Cowan, can finally talk openly about.

"For a lot of years, I didn't even want to think about it, you know. I believe that you have to heal before you start thinking about your wounds... Now, I'm better able to handle it," said Freddie Cowan.

Cowan made a lot of firsts: she was the first African American, female firefighter on the Lexington Fire Department and the first to be promoted to lieutenant. Now, she has this great honor.

The ribbon cutting of the school had many attendees, such as Lexington firefighters, police, parents, students, teachers, Lexington's mayor and members of Cowan's family.

Given Cowan's service to the Lexington Fire Department, it was announced that there will be two dalmatians on campus every day as therapy dogs.

Much of Monday's ceremony was focused around Cowan's legacy that leaders are hoping they will share with new students at the school.

The ribbon cutting also gave participants a chance to look at the new school and view Cowan's helmet and Metal of Valor that her family donated to the school.

Cowan was also the first African American, female firefighter to die in the line of duty in the nation.