Original release (February 25, 2016 8:30 a.m.):
February is Black History Month. The Baltimore County Police and Fire Departments take this opportunity to recognize African Americans who have been pioneers in these agencies.
Fire Specialist Isaac "Ike" Burke -- the Baltimore County Fire Department's third African American member -- impacted the careers of hundreds of BCoFD members.
Hired in 1979, FS Burke began his career at the Middle River Fire Station. His influence really began in 1982, when he was assigned to Applicant Investigations, supervising BCoFD's recruitment and hiring. By the time FS Burke retired in 2005, 85 percent of the department's sworn members had been hired under his watch.
FS Burke was a cheerful, optimistic person, well-liked by his colleagues. He handled new hires and prospective employees with tact, firmness and honesty.
FS Burke died, too young, in 2006 after a battle with cancer. His impact on the department is so great that an award has been established in his honor. The Isaac Burke Memorial Award is given to a recruit from each graduating class who exemplfies BCoFD's motto, PRIDE (Professionalism, Resourcefulness, Integrity, Dedication and Education).