Family Escort Perspective: 2014 Memorial Weekend


By Josh Southerland, Westfield Fire Department (IN)

I wanted to say thanks again for the opportunity to be a Family Escort. Every year I go and serve as an escort I learn many things, whether it’s how to be a better family escort for the next year, or how to be a better husband, or how to be a better dad. This year the fatherhood lesson was very noticeable. I learned that I am by no means guaranteed to be here on this earth tomorrow. I need to make sure I take time out of my busy life to sit and play games or just spend time with my two little girls. With the hope that if ever something was to happen to me they would at least have cherished memories to hold on too.

I was assigned to the Token Adams family, they are an amazing family. This year was harder emotionally than in the years past. I had a little girl named Isla sit on my lap for the Candlelight Service. Token picked out her name, but tragically died before she was born. It was a hard to not break down knowing that I was allowed the opportunity to hold a beautiful little girl and her dad never got the chance to. I still find myself crying when I think about it. I could explain more but I imagine you understand what I’m saying. I am very honored to be a part of this Weekend and again thanks.

Everything seemed very well planned and it was executed to the highest degree. I was assigned to Kelly Ruth and he did a great job keeping us informed and making sure that we as Escorts could succeed during this Memorial Weekend.

I love being a firefighter but I find myself thinking that the only job I would leave my department for, would be to work for the NFFF. When a firefighter dies in the line of duty it is the ultimate sacrifice. But it doesn’t stop there, the families left behind still have to find a way to pick up the pieces and continue on. And what to NFFF does to support the families is remarkable. It is an organization that truly works from the heart and makes sure the families have the support they need. The NFFF should be very proud of the work that they do.