Recognizing that the holidays can be challenging for those who have experienced loss, the Family Programs team at the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is launching the first in a six-episode series of its new podcast, Grief in Progress. While the podcast features Fire Hero Families of fallen firefighters who have been honored at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, MD, the stories recounted by loved ones of the fallen can be of assistance to anyone who is dealing with grief or tragic loss.
Sharon Purdy’s firefighter husband Lee
died of a heart attack in the line of duty. As a paramedic herself, Sharon was at the same fire and ran the code on her husband. In the days that followed, Sharon’s personal loss exposed a larger problem related to availability of survivor benefits. It wasn’t one that she could solve for herself—but nonetheless she felt compelled to make it right for future Fire Hero Families. Sharon used her own experience with loss to advocate for other family members, and her efforts led to the expansion of the Hometown Heroes program that provides benefits to survivors of public safety officers.
Grief in Progress: A New Podcast Series from the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
Everyone’s journey through grief is unique. But shared stories can be a powerful tool of hope for those who have experienced sudden loss. Grief in Progress inspires listeners with messages of resilience from peers who have found their own ways to cope. The compelling episodes feature one-on-one conversations with spouses, children, and life partners of fallen firefighters—but the perspectives they share will resonate with anyone dealing with grief. Through the generosity of these Fire Hero Families, the open dialogue focuses on contemporary issues of grief and offers strategies to promote healing. Most of all, Grief in Progress inspires new ways of seeing the world and connecting with others after tragic loss.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation marked #GivingTuesday as #FireHeroTuesday. Starting on this global day of generosity, you can help us honor America’s fallen fire heroes, assist their families, and work to prevent firefighter line-of-duty deaths and injuries.
Due to factors beyond our control, we decided not to change the date of the National Memorial as it had been previously announced. The Memorial Weekend will be held in-person on the grounds of the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Watch the 2021 Fire Hero Family Tree Lighting
Each year, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation decorates trees in memory of all fallen firefighters. These beautiful trees are on display in the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Chapel, featuring ornaments from the families and departments of America’s Fire Heroes from around the country.
The National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, MD, the home of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, is open for Public Visitors to Campus Memorials. All visitors will park in the lot adjacent to Building V1 where you will be security screened. Restrooms are also available in Building V1 for your convenience. Visitors are not permitted to enter NETC buildings and should follow the “marked” route on the map provided by campus security for access to the National Memorial.
On November 1, 1966, ten El Cariso Hotshots were killed when the Santa Ana winds suddenly changed direction, while they were working a wildfire in Pacoima Canyon, in the Angeles National Forest. Two more hotshots succumbed to their injuries days later, and nineteen others sustained critical burn injuries.
Thank you to the American Fire Service and everyone who made the 2021 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend a reality for the families of the nation’s fallen firefighters. It was the first in-person national firefighter or police memorial service held since 2019!
This discussion features Deputy Chief Sam LeNeave, who recalls the Blue Ribbon Wildland Fire that resulted in the LODD of Joshua O. Burch and Brett L. Fulton on June 20, 2011.
» Watch the Webinar
Following a year of reduced, postponed, and virtual events brought on by the COVID pandemic, the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend marked its 40th anniversary October 2-3 by returning to an in-person event in Emmitsburg, Maryland, honoring 215 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2020 and 2019 and in previous years.
December 1 – 4, 2021
Liberty Mountain Resort – Carroll Valley, PA
At the beautiful Liberty Mountain Resort, 2021 Fire Hero Family Winter Retreat attendees will participate in service-based activities, open discussions with other Fire Hero Families and enjoy time connecting with each other for support.
» 2021 Fire Hero Family Tree Lighting
December 6, 2021
Capital One Arena – Washington, DC
Tickets start at $49 and include a Capitals/NFFF commemorative coin. A portion of each ticket purchased will support the NFFF.
December 14, 2021
Little Caesars Arena – Detroit, MI
Ticket package includes game ticket, Red Wings jersey, and a $10 donation to the NFFF.
December 18, 2021 3:00 – 4:30 pm ET
Online Through Zoom
During our December gathering of Men Forging Ahead, those who’d like to can share their favorite holiday memories. We’ll also brainstorm ways to incorporate those memories into new traditions as a way of honoring our fire heroes.