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National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Age: 22
Year of Death: 2004

Benjamin Matthew Lang

Submitted by his mother

Benjamin Matthew Lang was born on October 2‚ 1981. A quiet child‚ full of wonder‚ he was destined for greatness. A celebrated athlete‚ he graduated from Lake Wales High School in 2000. He was a member of Hope Presbyterian Church. He attended Ridge Vocation/Technical Center where he completed his Minimum Fire Standards for Professional Firefighting. He joined Polk County Fire Department in July 2001. He later attended night classes at Valencia College and obtained his EMT Certification. He was so proud of the fact that by the age of 20 he had bought his first home. He had a promising career with the fire department and looked forward to going back to school to become a Paramedic as well.

Ben loved to play football and baseball with his friends. He was an avid weightlifter. This led to many ‘in-house’ competitions with the veterans at the fire station. He collected baseball and football cards‚ comic boooks and action figures. He had a strong faith in God and an ardent love for his family.

He was the most honest person you could ever know. He was neither pretentious nor fake. If you were his friend‚ you were his friend for life. Bigger than life‚ reserved and shy‚ Ben had such a gentle spirit. One of the best stories about him was told by his fellow firefighters. During Hurricane Charley‚ the weather conditions had become too dangerous for emergency vehicles to be on the roads. All of the firemen were at the station watching the storm through the open bay doors. A dove‚ trying to ride out the storm in a nearby tree fell to the ground unable to fly to safety. All of the men stood around trying to decide what to do when Ben came out dressed in his yellow rain gear. He went out in the storm to rescue the little bird. Successful on the second attempt he placed the bird in a dry corner of the truck bay on a towel. Eventually as the storm subsided the little dove flew away. This was the kind of person Ben was. It is no wonder his chosen path in life was to give of himself. He chose‚ like so many other men and women to lay his life on the line‚ no fear‚ no questions asked‚ to help others.

On August 23‚ 2004 Ben was working overtime for another firefighter when the call came in for medical response to a seizure victim. When the fire truck pulled up on the scene the Paramedics asked if one of the firemen would ride in the ambulance to help stabilize the patient in route to the hospital. Ben hopped in the back of the ambulance like he had done so many times before. This would be the last call Ben would ever go on. On the way to the hospital the ambulance driver lost control in the rainy weather and crashed.

Ben believed as I do the reason for our lives on this earth are to become the people we are to be in our next life. The human race is too complex too spiritual for this life to be all there is. I am very proud of the man Ben had become. I know he is somewhere else and I know I will see him again. Benjamin was not only my son he was one of my best friends. In his quiet way he taught me to follow my dreams‚ to stand tall to never give up and never give in. I hope those who read this letter will take time out to reflect‚ not only on whom Ben was but who you are and who you want to be. Nothing is certain in this life we live. One never knows what day will be the last on this earth. The only sure thing we can count on is ourselves‚ the spirit within us.

As a fitting memorial to his life the Benjamin M. Lang Scholarship Fund was created through Polk Community College to help another young person follow their dream. It is comforting to know Ben’s dream will be kept alive although through someone else. Ben had accomplished so much in his short life. It has been said ‘Ben was not only our Hero‚ he was our Super Hero!’ He will be forever loved and never forgotten.

I love you son!

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  1. I truly believe all firefighters are heroes.. Your mother is a dear friend of mine. I will never forget that day your mother & I were talking about our sons & how proud she was of all that you had accomplished in life. That day happened to be your last call. Ben, you are truly missed by the community. All my prayers go out to Sherri & her family.

    – Rose Campbell
  2. Sherri, Your son Ben is a driving force in why I am a Vol. Firefigher. I have never met you and only met Ben a Few times but he is the drive of why I still do this daily. Ben I hope you are proud of me and my team of firefighters, as we strive to be like you. A true hero. Sherri, Ben will live on in the hearts of his extended family every day. And I thank God that he is watching over us everyday every call. God Bless!!! Blly Kingston WSFVD

    – Asst Chief Billy Kingston
  3. Hi guys. This is little Roy. I have been thinking about Ben a lot here lately. I wish I could have spent more time with him. Ben I miss and love you a lot. I’m glad you were my big brother and you always still will be. Sherri and other brothers, please write me back when y’all get this please. I would like to come and see y’all some time and I would really like to get more pictures of Ben if y’all have any. Sherri, I would really like to say thank you for giving me someone to look up to. Ben has done a lot in that little bit of time. I’m proud of you Ben. I wish you were here with me to hang out and talk to. But you will always be in my heart and will never be forgotten. I love y’all guys and you too Ben. Write back soon, please? Love always, Little Roy

    – Little Roy
  4. Wow, what a message of love from a mother about her son! Very touching and Ben sounded like a wonderful person. Since having a son myself I do not know what I’d do if I lost him at such a young age. Very touching to read this and may god bless you!

    – Kellie Hicking
  5. August 2021
    On this the 17th anniversary of Ben’s passing, please know Sherri that Ben will never be forgotten by his firefighter family.

    – Lisa Hopman
  6. Ben, brother, you are always remembered and never forgotten. Your legacy lives on through many. As we remember your 17 year anniversary, we make sure to share what an awesome brother and friend you were to us all. RIP brother!! Were still caring you with us here at Polk County Fire Rescue. God Bless.

    – Bubba Gilileo