This article brings me to the annual Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial Services held on May 17 and 18 in Kingdom City. I believe this is the most important activity I am involved in every year and I will commit a large portion of this article to it.
Many hours of preparation took place not only with the grounds but with the programs. A workday was conducted on May 10, Lt. Steve Nichols and firefighters from Little Dixie Fire Protection District headed up the workday and many items were worked on. Helpers also came from Boone County Fire Protection District, Galt Fire Protection District, South Central Buchannan County Fire Protection District, Braymer Fire Department and Callaway County Commission. I thank each of you.
As they have done for many years, I thank Chief Greg Lubbert and the Central Callaway Fire Protection District who spent many hours cleaning all of the granite walls and other tasks the Thursday night prior to the services.
Many hours were also given for the Candlelight Service and the Sunday morning services. Keith Smith of the Warrenton Fire Protection District, Bill Albus of the Little Dixie Fire Protection District and the Missouri State Fire Marshal office, and Linda Coleberd of Hannibal all worked many hours gathering information and developing the programs for both services. I thank each of you.
The Candlelight Honor Guard was provided by the Little Dixie Fire Protection District. Chaplin Robby Jernigan from the Marshfield Fire Protection District did an excellent job with the message to over 200 attendees at the Candlelight Service. A special thanks to Gail Fitzgerald from the Boone County Fire Protection District Pipes and Drums for her bag piping Amazing Grace, to Blue Ice Productions and Chairman Keith Smith from Warrenton, Missouri who provided all of the recording and video services for the entire memorial, as they have done for many years at no charge to the Memorial Foundation. Many, many thanks to Greg and Rose Rosebrock.
Each year our history is documented by Don Vaucher. Don is at every event and photographs all the activities and provides FFAM with prints and CDs and never asks for recognition or payment for his services. Thank you Don and Harriett.
Again this year we were honored to have Director Jerry Lee from the State of Missouri Department of Public Safety attend and presenting proclamations to the 2013 Line of Duty Death family members.
Ms. Heidi Packard, a survivor herself, was our keynote speaker at the Sunday morning memorial service. I heard many compliments and I believe Heidi had a very good message. Thank you Heidi and I extend an invitation to you for any of our future events.
Director David Hedrick from the Fire and Rescue Training Institute gave our opening invocation and as always did an excellent job. David always accepts my request to help and I appreciate his can-do attitude.
Our Honor Guard Commander this year was Chuck Beaty from the St. Joseph Fire Department. Commander Beaty did an outstanding job coordinating Honor/Color Guard and Pipe and Drum members from many fire departments throughout Missouri. Thank you Chuck and the members of the many Honor Guards and Pipe and Drum members.
I really appreciate all of the Memorial Board members that helped in so many ways throughout both services by reading of the names, bell ringing, and placing of wreaths and turnout gear.
A special thank you goes to Rich and Pam Gordon for hauling the chairs from Jefferson City to use at both services and then returning them for us. And again Don Hahne and Steve Paulsell performed Taps flawlessly to close our services.
Ladder trucks were provided by the Marshfield Fire Department and the Union Fire Protection District to fly the US flag at the entrance to the memorial walkway. Washington Volunteer Fire Company and Charles Staats provided their antique trucks again. Thanks to all.
We also appreciate the Staff for Life Medical Helicopter and flight crew for its fly-over and salute to our fallen comrades.
A special thank you to Luce and Rich Myers for the singing of A Fireman’s Heart.
I also need to thank everyone else that helped in any way that made our annual Memorial Services special to everyone, especially to the families being honored.
Thank you to the FFAM Auxiliary for providing and distributing the ribbons and to Doc Kritzer and his wife for having statues and souvenirs available to all attendees.
There were many, many more that helped in some way, and I thank each one of you. I apologize if I have forgotten anyone, as I surely have, because it takes so many to get ready for such an event. To those that I did not mention by name, I appreciate your faithfulness every year.
I understand another excellent Summer Fire School was presented in Jefferson City by the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute. Congratulations to David Hedrick and staff.
The FFAM State Fair Fire Department Committee has been working many hours preparing for the 2014 State Fair. A work weekend was conducted on May 30 and 31 with many firefighters in attendance helping. Thank you for your service and commitment to the success of FFAM. Another work weekend will be held on July 11, 12, and 13 at the fire station.
Everything is shaping up for another great time at the 2014 Missouri State Fair. A full staff of FFAM members from throughout the state have been selected to work and I am looking forward to another great time seeing old friends and making new ones. Chief R.B. Brown has worked diligently and invested many hours selecting and preparing his staff to lead and provide the professional fire and rescue/medical services that the patrons of the Missouri State Fair have become accustom to.
I am very thankful to have all of the FFAM officers, directors and assistant directors, committees and many others serving the needs of the fire service of Missouri.
As always, I am available in the event you have any questions or comments. You may contact me at 573-581-6235 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kenneth Hoover, President
Fire Fighters Association of Missouri