The Missouri EMS Funeral Response Team held their annual conference at the Lake of the Ozarks on October 17-19. It was held at the Country Club Hotel and Spa. This year for the first time it was open to fire and law enforcement personal that was interested in learning about Line of Duty Deaths (LODD). Members from numerous fire agencies, EMS organizations, along with members of the Fire Funeral Assist Team were in attendance. General session’s were held and breakout sessions included information about axes and pike poles used in silent guard, flag posting, flag folding, marching and drills, along with rifle use.
The key topic, LODD 101 was instructed by Eric Johnson. Mr. Johnson is the founder of Supporting Hero’s out of Louisville, Kentucky. He shared a lot of information on LODD, what levels of honors are appropriate for each type of funeral and talked about the benefits that may be available to families that lost a loved one in the line of duty.
On display during the conference were pictures from the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial held just a week before in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and from the Missouri Firefighters Memorial weekend in May. All provided by Don and Harriett Vaucher.
Some competitions were also held. Shaun DeVore from Princeton, Missouri took home the Grand Slam Drill competition trophy while Region 1 members from Northwest Missouri of the EMS Funeral team took home the flag folding competition. The Liberty Fire Department took home the color guard competition.
A banquet was held on Saturday night. The keynote speaker was Miss Krista Haugan from Seattle, Washington. Krista was a survivor of her own helicopter crash. Several members and regions were recognized along with organizations that help support the funeral team.
Sunday morning was a very special time. At breakfast survivor Lanett Stewart from Lynn, Indiana was the keynote speaker. Lanett’s father, a firefighter from Lynn Indiana, was killed in the line of duty in 2010. She shared what was an emotional talk on how important it is to honor our fallen brothers and sisters and what it means to the families.
Closing out the 2014 conference a video called Never Forget was shown and a candle was lit to honor everyone that had given their lives while serving others.
Next year’s conference is already being planned for the 3rd weekend in October, Thursday through Sunday. This being the fifth conference, it looks to be something special.