Candice “Candy” Cook was a cornerstone of the Loveland- Symmes Fire Department for 25 years. The beloved chief financial officer of the department dutifully served until her passing in 2018. Now the LSFD has dedicated themselves to ensuring her memory lives on by starting a scholarship fund in her honor. 

“Candy was always willing to help anyone who needed it. She was one of those people who got here an hour before work and stayed for an hour after,” says Fire Chief Otto Huber, Candy’s brother. 

There was nothing more important to Candy than the professional development of the local firefighters and paramedics. It was her mission. So in honor of her memory, Cook’s family and the Loveland-Symmes firefighters established the Candice M. Cook Scholarship Foundation to help fund firefighters who want to advance their professional development by attending paramedic school. 

The Foundation’s purpose is to raise enough money to off-set the cost of tuition and books. Today, the price of a para- medic’s higher education typically exceeds $10,000 and doesn’t include the time commitment or the clinical hours required to achieve certification by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. 

Huber says the Fire and EMS industry is struggling these days to recruit new, young individuals, so it’s critical the LSFD helps provide the additional education they need to be successful in their careers. “No matter if it’s a tornado, a flood or a pandemic, your fire department has to be there,” Huber says. “If you lose your fire department and there’s an emergency, who do you call? It’s just that simple. The fire department is important to every community’s public safety. On your worst day, these are the people who you want to show up.” 

Unfortunately, COVID canceled the Foundation’s summer music festival fundraiser in September 2020. Now the organization wants to raise funds for the department’s next paramedic training program. 

So this year, the Candice M. Cook Scholarship Foundation is sponsoring its first Loveland Valentine’s Maskerade Ball fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 12, from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. It will be held at The Landing Event Center in Historic Downtown Loveland. Tickets cost $65 per person or $120 per couple. The event includes dinner, dancing, a casino night, and — should you and your spouse be so inspired — Loveland Mayor Kathy Bailey will be on hand to officiate a renewal of your wedding vows. 

At 10 p.m., the Nasty Nati Brass Band will lead the event’s participants in a New Orleans-inspired second-line parade from The Landing to Bishop’s Quarter for a rooftop afterparty with fireworks. 

“Valentine’s Day in Loveland is a big deal,” Huber says. “Our city’s theme is ‘Sweetheart of Ohio.’” Every year, people from all over the world send their Valentine’s Day cards to the Loveland Post Office, where the red-clad Loveland Valentine Ladies see to it that each Cupid-themed communication receives the city’s official Valentine’s Day stamp. 

The community can help honor Cook’s legacy by not just buying a ticket, but by supporting the event and organization. 

“We are asking our local businesses to support the Valentine’s Maskerade Ball through sponsorships to cover the cost of the event,” Huber says. “We want to send as many interested firefighters to medic school as possible. 

“It will be a great time to take your sweetheart out for a romantic evening and support a great charity!” 

Behold SimMan 3G

SimMan 3G is a realistic, full-bodied adult patient simulator. This advanced technology tool displays neurological and physiological symptoms that provide an array of valuable hands- on emergency care training for the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department paramedics. 

The $100,000 wireless mannequin joined the LSFD in 2019. Symmes Township, the City of Loveland and the City of Mason shared SimMan’s purchase cost, and they share access to it for training. 

SimMan 3G was produced by Laerdal Medical, a world- leading provider of training, educational and therapy products for lifesaving and emergency medical care. It teaches paramedics to recognize and diagnose critical medical emergencies while in a controlled environment. Paramedics can practice everything from CPR, various airway management skills, and intravenous (IV) and intraosseous (IO) vascular access to drug administration, electrocardiogram monitoring, and seizure management. 

As complex as all that sounds, SimMan is simple to operate. “If we start an IV, simulated blood runs through SimMan’s veins,” explains Loveland-Symmes Fire Chief Otto Huber. “If we administer medication, SimMan will react according to that medication. SimMan can mimic everything from a heart attack to a brain aneurism.”

Obviously, practicing emergency medical care skills on a simulated patient having a computerized heart attack or brain aneurism is invaluable training that can prevent paramedics from making errors in real-life medical emergencies. The accompanying detailed feedback and discussion further enhances paramedics’ emergency care education. 

“Only a couple of fire departments in our region have this technology. You can’t get better hands-on training,” Huber says.

Want to buy tickets or become a sponsor? Contact Kristin Caudill at or call 513-774-3016