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State Fire Marshal Ken Tyree, wife Leona Tyree named Distinguished West Virginians by Governor Justice


March 20, 2018

State Fire Marshal Ken Tyree, wife Leona Tyree named Distinguished West Virginians by Governor Justice


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Governor Jim Justice has honored a Kanawha County couple with the highest award he can bestow, for their commitment to family, community and the Mountain State.


State Fire Marshal Ken Tyree and his wife, Leona Tyree, were named Distinguished West Virginians during a Tuesday ceremony at the State Capitol. Chief of Staff Mike Hall presented the awards on behalf of Governor Justice.


The Tyrees met while serving together in the U.S. Air Force. They married in 1985, and started their family while stationed in Turkey. So far, they have brought their love into the lives of 13 biological and four foster children.


Leona Tyree home-schools their children until they are of high school age. Six have graduated from or are enrolled at Brigham Young University, while one of the five still at home has been accepted there. Both Leona and Ken Tyree have been leaders at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Teays Valley.


Before his appointment as State Fire Marshal in January 2015, Ken Tyree served the City of Charleston for nearly 21 years as a firefighter. He retired as a captain and the city fire marshal. He is a valued member of member of numerous state, national, and international fire service organizations.


“I am humbled by this, but more than anything I give all the credit to God and to my wife,” Marshal Tyree said afterward. “She’s the one who steadies the ship. I think of all the times in 20-some years when I have been called out of the house until three in the morning, four in the morning…She’s been the calm in the storm throughout.”


Tuesday’s event was a surprise for the couple, with six of their children on hand for the ceremony along with numerous other family members, deputy fire marshals and Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary Jeff Sandy. The State Fire Marshal’s Office is part of DMAPS.


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LAWRENCE MESSINA (304) 558-2930 Lawrence.C.Messina@wv.gov