Sandra Clinton: My Memorial Weekend Experience

Experiencing Memorial Weekend from the Fire Hero Family Perspective

Sandra Clinton: A Fire Hero Family Perspective

Sandra Clinton: A Fire Hero Family PerspectiveIf you have only recently learned about the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, you are not alone. Many families aren’t introduced to the Foundation until after they’ve experienced a tragic loss.

Sandra Clinton was no exception—until she was notified that her husband Madison would be honored at Memorial Weekend 2019. That weekend became a springboard for her and her daughters, leading to ongoing involvement with the NFFF.

Her advice to new Fire Hero Families is simple:
please attend Memorial Weekend if you are able.

How did you first learn about Memorial Weekend?


Honestly, I never knew about NFFF. I didn’t know they had a national memorial. My husband was a volunteer firefighter and was pretty much the first line-of-duty death in our county.

But then I got a letter saying that my husband would be honored at Memorial Weekend. I had no idea where Emmitsburg, Maryland was! But just seeing the programs NFFF offered, I made a decision: I’m going to get involved with this group.

How would you describe Memorial Weekend to new Fire Hero Families?


I’d tell families that you will feel respected, you will feel loved—and you will be humbled by all of the people who just want to make this experience the best it can be for you. Everybody is there for you.

When I attended in 2019, I was very touched by the way they honor the fallen. The Foundation is very thoughtful about how they do things. I’d also say to be prepared to go-go-go—a lot happens in a short time. But the important thing for families to do is to just soak it all in.

Watch Highlights from the 2019 Memorial Weekend

What else have you learned that you’d like to share with new Fire Hero Families?


I have not come in contact with anybody working with the NFFF who is not caring. The Foundation is so good about honoring those who have lost their lives—and then helping families get beyond that tragedy.

Whatever you need, NFFF will help you figure it out. They are very, very good at finding ways to help Fire Hero Families cope.

New and returning Fire Hero Family members please contact Ashley Whitmore at (301) 447-1365 or by E-mail at [email protected] about participating in the 2021 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend.

For more information about the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, please visit

Remember: We Are Here for You!

In our effort to reach all Fire Hero Families, please help us spread the word about the NFFF, our Fire Hero Family programs, and the resources available for families of fallen firefighters.

Join Our Facebook Group   Follow @FireHeroFamily   Follow @FireHeroKids
Stay Connected by E-mail