Mario John Moya

Mario John Moya

Lieutenant Mario John Moya, age 52, of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department died on August 17, 2021, from complications of COVID-19.

Thomas M. Barber

Thomas M. Barber

Captain Thomas M. Barber, age 51, of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department died on June 14, 2021, after suffering a heart attack within 24 hours of responding to an emergency.

Michael Lee Freeland

Michael Lee Freeland

The life of Michael Lee Freeland, affectionately known as “Mike,” began on February 19, 1985, in Jacksonville, Florida. He was born to Michael Steele and Terona S. Freeland. He attended the local public schools of Duval County, graduating from Edward White High School, Class of 2003.

Furthering his education, Mike attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. During his tenure, doctors discovered he had a rare form of cancer in his finger, which would later require amputation and his unenrollment. This was a very challenging moment in Mike’s young life but, because of his determination, he didn’t give up and still pursued life. He continued his studies and later earned a Bachelor of Applied Science with Supervision in Management degree from Florida State College at Jacksonville.

At an early age he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. He was a member of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church, where he served as a member of the Health Ministry and Parking Lot Ministry.

Mike always had a desire to work. He was afforded the opportunity of working for several companies, including Winn-Dixie, Foot Locker, the United States Postal Service, NAPA Auto Parts, ADT, Caliber Patient Care, and Agape Community Health Center.

Mike’s childhood dream was to one day become a racecar driver. He had a love and passion for vintage cars and would frequently attend car shows. Mike owned an array of cars and tennis shoes.

The mission of Mike’s life began when he became employed by Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department as a firefighter. This was a decision he made to model the life of his fireman uncle, George. Above all, Mike was dedicated to helping others. He excelled with great job performance in his career, earning certification as a paramedic. This profession gave him the rights of passage to be a modern-day hero, as he would show true by exemplifying his unwavering courage and commitment to service.

He received numerous commendations for his heroic efforts, including certification in Aircraft, Rescue and Firefighting. In the spring of 2019, Mike was promoted to engineer and was studying for the lieutenant’s exam. Other affiliations include being a member of the MOBB Jeep Club.

The purpose of Mike’s time on earth was shown to his community and to the world as he sacrificed his own life for the lives of others. On November 11, 2021, while in the line of duty, Engineer Michael Lee Freeland went home to be with the Lord.

Neal Tarkington

Neal  Tarkington

Neal was born March 23‚ 1965 in Jacksonville‚ Florida.

He began his career of more than 20 years as a firefighter at Jacksonville International Airport where he was aircraft rescue trained. The remainder of his career was with Jacksonville Fire Rescue‚ at station #4. There he was an engineer on the ladder truck and a part of the Special Ops team‚ trained in hazardous materials and high angle rescue. He repelled from highest point of the Dames Point Bridge.

He truly loved his fire house family and his second home. He enjoyed giving tours of the station to school children and watching their faces light up as he told them about the fire trucks. He took great pride in preparing meals for the guys. When we would call and ask what he was doing he would answer ‘fighting fires and saving lives.’

Neal had a contagious laugh with a beautiful smile and big brown eyes. He never met a stranger‚ and was always willing to help anyone in need. His gentleness and compassion for others made him a great firefighter. Among his many hobbies‚ Neal liked reading‚ learning new things and working with his hands making‚ building or fixing things. He loved his big truck and fifth wheel and traveling in them.

He graduated from high school in Sevierville‚ Tennessee and he always loved the breathtaking views in the mountains and making annual trips to visit his brother and family that live there now.

Neal was a loving husband to Debbie‚ his wife of 19 years‚ a loving dad to Neal Joseph Tarkington‚ Mike (Katie) and Chris (Jessica) Payne and a proud grandpa to Ethan. He was a loving son to Eunice (Charles) Haspel and Otis (Aileen) Tarkington. He and his brother Bryan (Tina) shared a special bond along with his older brothers: Dennis (Carolyn)‚ Robert (Gail) and Billy (Kathy) Tarkington and his loving nephews and nieces. His brother Robert‚ brother-in-law and nephew are also firefighters. Neal loved spending time with his grandparents‚ aunts‚ uncles and cousins‚ showing us all what a great cook he was‚ telling jokes and just having fun.

Neal was 43 years young when he went to Heaven on October 11‚ 2008 from a heart attack. Our time with him was far too short‚ but he taught us so much and left us with so many wonderful memories. We are truly blessed with having him in our lives. He showed everyone ‘that it is not the years in your life‚ but the life in your years’ and for that we will always be grateful to him. He left such a void in our lives and will be ‘FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS.’

Karl ‘Klif’ Kramer

Karl  'Klif' Kramer

Submitted by his mother

To have an impact on one life is remarkable – To touch many is a miracle! Klif did just that!

Karl ‘Klif’ Kramer‚ 22‚ died of heat stroke on May 28‚ 2005 after collapsing during a training run. At 6’4’‚ a gentle giant of a man‚ Klif was the friend that you could always count on. He was proud of becoming a member of the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department and being able to follow in his fathers footsteps. He used to spend hours with his Dad planning the next steps in his career and discussing the different options in firefighting. He was on the road to achieving a life long dream.

Klif lived life to the fullest. He loved playing sports but playing softball was his favorite. Especially when playing with his dad and cousins. He was a member of several church‚ fire department and city teams. When not playing ball he was playing cards or visiting friends. He just loved being with others. Klif had a sense of humor and a unique ability to know just when to use it. At Halloween he will always be remembered as ‘Shrek’ and how closely he resembled the character’s personality – not to mention the costume he made each year.

Klif was the son that any mother and father would be proud to have. He was idolized by his little brothers and loved by his friends. We were truly blessed to have a son like Klif and so very proud of all he accomplished in such a short time. Our world is a better place because of him and we miss him dearly.

Submitted by his Captain

Firefighter Kliff Kramer‚ IV was recently hired as a probationary firefighter with our department. He was very active with his church and youth group.

Nolen A. Sauls

Nolen A. Sauls

Nolen A. Sauls‚ 51‚ a 14-year career firefighter with Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department‚ died on August 7‚ 2000‚ of cardiac arrest after responding to several calls. He was also an instructor/mentor with an EMS program.

Roger H. Taylor

Roger H. Taylor

Roger H. Taylor‚ 54‚ a division chief and 31-year veteran with Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department who is credited with launching the careers of many division employees‚ died on May 16‚ 2000‚ of cardiac arrest. He was paramedic/EMT instructor for more than 20 years and was a Marine Corps veteran.

Leon L. Benton

Firefighter Leon L. Benton died from a heart attack after collapsing during a basketball game at Fire Station 1. Benton‚ who played on the department’s basketball team‚ was working overtime at the time training for a state basketball tournament for fire department teams.

William E. Albritton

William E. “Billy” Albritton died as the result of a heart attack shortly after departing Fire Station 27.

Edgar A. Cowart

Submitted by his Daughter

My father worked for the Jacksonville Fire Dept. for 33 years. My father loved his job very much. He was awarded twice for the Fireman of the Year Award. Prior to becoming a Firefighter‚ he served in the U.S. Navy to defend his country. He was also awarded from the American Legend for rescuing 2 young boys from a forest fire.

He was a loving and devoted husband and father. He left behind Mary Cowart – Wife‚ Jody & Billy Cowart – Sons and Bettie Samford -Daughter.

My Father is truly missed.