LEXINGTON — The firefighting community in Ohio has wrapped its arms around one of their own navigating the loss of a spouse.
Ashley Dawn Ott, 36, of Lexington, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, Jan. 30, at Avita Ontario Hospital after a brief illness. Ashley is the wife of Chris Ott, a full-time firefighter with the Springfield Township Fire Department.
In the aftermath of Ashley's death, the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3849 created an online fundraiser to help support the Ott family. More than 400 people have donated nearly $40,000 in the span of a day.
"Chris is a dedicated father and full-time firefighter," wrote Josh Bradley, an investigator with the Springfield Township Fire Department who organized the fundraiser. "Firefighters work a schedule of 24 hours on with 48 hours off. During the time that Chris serves his community, Ashley was the one that was there to care for the kids and home.
"Chris needs to be there emotionally to support his family without the burden of financial support," Bradley continued. "We are starting this campaign to try to ease the financial burden during this time."
The link to the fundraiser has been shared more than 7,500 times among friends, family and the firefighting community.
"Firefighter Ott is a great man," wrote the Crestline Fire Department on their Facebook page. "This is a tragic loss for him and his family. Firefighter Ott has helped our community with our mutual aid agreement with Springfield Twp. Please let’s help him and his family in their time of need because he selflessly helps ours in our time of need."
"A friend of the members of Station6," wrote Columbus Fire Engine Company 6. "Please donate to the Ott family during this tragic time."
The Springfield Township Fire Department began in 1948 as a volunteer service. Currently the department operates out of two stations with a minimum of five people (two medics) per day. They respond to more than 2,000 calls per year.
"Chris is a 12-year veteran of the fire department," Bradley said. "Chris has shown compassion and selflessness throughout his entire career. We ask help to give back to Chris during this difficult time."
Ashley is described as "a beautiful and loving mother, perfect in every way" in her obituary.
"She was funny, kind and caring and would put others concerns above her own. Ashley was also very intelligent, determined and dedicated in all that she did."
Ashley was a stay-at-home mom up until July 2019 when she began working for Lexington Child Development Center. She met the love of her life, Chris Ott, on Jan. 3, 2009 - they later married in July 2012.
In addition to her parents, Ashley is survived by her loving husband, Chris; children, Layla, Wyatt and Jackson; sister, Devan (Amanda Jones) Kennedy of Mansfield; father and mother-in-law, Doug (Sue) Ott of Akron; sister-in-law, Danielle (Forrest) Lykins; nephew, Rory Lykins; grandparents, John Corba and Searl (Lynda) Kennedy both of Fredericktown; uncles, John (Jimmy Abel) Corba of Mansfield; aunt, Beth Corba; and two cousins, Bronson Mast and Mackenzie Mast.
The family will receive friends from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 4, at the Ontario Home of Wappner Funeral Directors, 100 S. Lexington-Springmill Road.
A service in Ashley’s honor will be held at the funeral home on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 11 a.m. with visitation one hour prior and Rev. Vickie Kissel officiating. Memorial contributions may be made in care of the family.