Hello, from District 2. The 2020 annual fire and EMS funeral team conference were on October 23-24 in Lake Ozark, Missouri. Instructors from four states with the National Honor Guard Academy made us realize we had muscles that we did not use very often. From rifles to axes, color guard procedures to folding the flag. It was a great two days of honor guard training, with nearly forty in attendance. I wish to thank all that attended and the FFAM newsletter for supporting the event by sharing the information with everyone. Also to Brian Zinanni and the Missouri Fire Service Funeral Assistance Team for sponsoring our keynote speaker as she traveled many miles to share her story.
The speaker was Ms. Juliann Ashcraft, wife of Andrew Ashcraft. Andrew lost his life along with nineteen fellow firefighters in the Yarnall Hill fires in Prescott, Arizona, in 2013. He was 27 years old. The fire funeral team here in Missouri loaded up their trailers and responded to Arizona to honor and assist with the visitations and funerals in 2013. At just 29 years old, she lost her high school sweetheart. In an instant, she was alone with four children.
She did a round table on Saturday afternoon with a good group attending. She shared information on how teams could assist families before, during, and after the visitation and funeral. At the annual banquet, she gave a very inspiring talk about her life during and after Andrews’s death. We had tears in our eyes one minute and laughing and smiling the next. I wish to thank the FFAM Board President Chief Hoover, and District 14 Assistant Director Glenn Dittmar for assisting in presenting Ms. Ashcraft with a replica of our Missouri kneeling firefighter.
Sometimes we do not realize what impact we can have on supporting our fellow firefighters and EMS families in their time of need. She made us realize the funeral is not the last thing a family may need. She stated she had a “village” that helped her with whatever she needed after the funeral. An incredibly special lady. You can hear her speak if you go to youtube and pull up the 2019 National Fallen firefighter Christmas tree lighting. Continue Reading →