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On, off job, victims were imposing presences

The body of one of the victims of Wednesday’s fire was escorted by fellow firefighters to the medical examiner’s office.
The body of one of the victims of Wednesday’s fire was escorted by fellow firefighters to the medical examiner’s office.Jim Davis / Globe Staff

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Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy was a square-jawed Marine Corps veteran who saw combat in Iraq and a first responder who rushed to treat victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. He spent days off roaring down the road on his motorcycle and pushing himself to the limits as a Crossfit trainer.

“He was a fun-loving guy,’’ said Don Matchem, a Brockton firefighter who often ran into Kennedy over the past three years. “And he always had a smile on his face. He was always willing to help you with your bike. He was just enjoying life.”

Boston Fire Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh Jr. had tried a career in finance, but his passion was for firefighting. Nine and a half years ago, Walsh became a Boston firefighter, following in the footsteps of his late father, a lieutenant in the Watertown Fire Department.

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