Gabriel G. Lee of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, made the ultimate sacrifice on July 23, 2016, during a night shift at his station. He was a dedicated firefighter that worked day and night to protect the members of his community. Gabriel definitely lived a life of service.
In 1991, Gabriel enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. He defended his country in Operation Desert Storm and was honorably discharged on June 23, 1995, achieving the rank of specialist. Gabe received the Army Achievement Medal—September 20, 1993-October 23, 1993.
Gabriel, affectionately known as “Gabe or Lee,” entered the fire academy on March 15, 1999. He was in Cadet Class 172. After the successful completion of fire cadet training, he reported to his first assignment with Engine 35, C Platoon, in East Falls on June 28, 1999. Less than a year later, Gabe transferred to the fire station which would become his “home away from home,” Engine 50, C Platoon, in North Philadelphia. In October 2005, Gabe crossed the floor and transferred to Ladder 12, C platoon, which is housed with Engine 50, aka “The Big House,” located at 1325 Cambria Street. During his 17 years with the Philadelphia Fire Department, Gabe received many accolades, including four unit citations and one merit award, which is the fire department’s second highest individual honor.
The following quote is indicative Gabriel’s work and life mantra:
I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling. Our proudest moment is to save lives. Under the impulse of such thoughts, the nobility of the occupation thrills us and stimulates us to deeds of daring, even of supreme sacrifice.
-Chief Edward F. Croker
Gabriel leaves to cherish his memory his loving wife, Taisha; sons, Eric and Chase; and daughter, Gabrielle. Gabriel left us all too soon. He will always be remembered through the works he did, as well as the lives he touched in his 42 years of life.