Ideas for Local Tributes to Fallen Firefighters
There are many ways to pay tribute to fallen fire heroes and make sure they are not forgotten. Here are some examples of how communities, families, and fire departments across the country have chosen to remember the contributions and lives of America’s bravest.
- Name a local school, street, or building after the firefighter
- Dedicate a fire truck or other apparatus in the firefighter’s honor
- Create a special event to raise funds for a charity that was special to the firefighter
- Build a memorial at the station or in the community
- Establish a service award or scholarship program in the firefighter’s name
- Hold a service on the anniversary of the firefighter’s death
These are just a few of the ways you can remember our fallen heroes. If you have a created a tribute that you’d like to share with others, please contact us.
Brian Cannon, Taylors Bridge Fire Department
(North Carolina, 1998)
Taylors Bridge Fire Department dedicated a fire truck to the memory of Brian Cannon who died in the line-of-duty in 1998.
Brian T. Hauk, Logan-Trivoli Fire Protection Dist.
The Logan-Trivoli Fire Protection District purchased a new engine which was dedicated to Brian Hauk. A department memorial service was held observing the tenth anniversary of Brian’s death held at the site of accident, where a flag pole has been erected in his honor.
Steven J. McNamee, Chicago Fire Department
Chicago Fire Department dedicated a truck in memory of Steven J. McNamee who died in the line-of-duty in 1993 during the Roll Call at the Fire
Academy on the 16th anniversary of Steve’s death.
Building and Facility Dedications
Richard Liddy, Basking Ridge Fire Co.
(New Jersey, 1994)
The town of Basking Ridge officially declared the athletic field next to the firehouse as “Fireman’s Field” before unveiling a memorial stone in honor of Liddy. A third generation firefighter, Liddy served 21 years with the Bernardsville Fire Company and 24 years with Basking Ridge.
Barvon Coy Hamilton, Southern Oaks Volunteer Fire Dept.
Barvon Coy Hamilton’s dedication to the fire service lives on through the fire service facility named in his memory.
Alan Mickelson, Campbell Co. Volunteer Fire Dept.
The Campbell County Volunteer Fire Department dedicated the Alan Mickelson Fire Training Center, which is used by area fire departments, the sheriff’s department, the police department, ambulance crews, highway patrol, coal mine rescue teams, the school district, and methane gas companies. It is also the site of the International Mine Rescue competition held annually in Gillette. Mickelson’s wife, Marietta (Mickelson) Kornick, served on the planning committee for the training center.
Vincent Fowler, Fire Department of New York
(New York, 1999)
New York City dedicated a public elementary school to the memory of Captain Vincent Fowler, an FDNY firefighter who died in 1999. Fowler was very active in community youth activities and fire service training.
Robert O’Toole, Washington Twp. Fire Dept.
The city of Centerville honored O’Toole with a street dedication. The signs on the street where O’Toole’s fire station is located read “Firefighter Robert O’Toole Way.” The dedication meant a great deal to O’Toole’s parents, John and Ruth. “We are very proud and are so thankful to the entire community for everything they have done in Bob’s memory.”
Ray Lloyd Jr., Marion County Fire/Rescue, Ocala
In 2009, Marion County named a new, big, beautiful station main street in Dunnellon after Ray Lloyd Jr., the first and only Marion County Fire Rescue firefighter to die in the line of duty.
Pilot Heath Van Handel, WI Dept. of Natural Resource
The Heath Van Handel Memorial Forest was recently dedicated in memory of Heath Van Handel, who lost his life in an aircraft accident on April 8, 2009. At the time of the accident Heath was performing the duties of fire Air Attack Pilot, helping direct firefighters on the ground in the suppression of a wildland fire. Heath Van Handel, 36, grew up near the forest and loved being outside with nature, looking at it from above, and caring for it.
Russell F. Neary, Easton CT Volunteer Fire Company
In 2014, Easton Volunteer Fire Company dedicated it’s building to Russell F. Neary, who died in the line-of-duty while assisting residents during the height of Hurricane Sandy.
Monuments and Memorials
Bo Rathbun, Sundance Vol. Fire Dept.
Rathbun’s wife, Crystal, wrote to us: “We installed a large flagpole and brass plaque in Bo’s honor at the local Community Hall. We attended Country Western dances and celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary there. Our children grew up with activities held there over the years.
Firefighter Trainee Jerry Wayne Ramey, West Fork Fire Department
We are thrilled that Greenland Schools, where Jerry attended, has just placed a memorial for the fallen heroes, students lost in the line of duty. Jerry was the only firefighter listed. The memorial sits on the Jonathan Ramey Memorial Field, named in honor of Jerry’s little brother, who passed away while working a football game.
Firefighter Sekou Turner, Alameda County Fire Department
The first edition of the Marin City Today newspaper was dedicated to fallen firefighter Sekou Turner and his parents, Sharon and Walter Turner.
Firefighter Jeremy C. LaBella, Washington Fire Dept.
On February 4, 2011, a gazebo was built and dedicated where Washington, Pennsylvania, firefighter Jeremy LaBella died in the line of duty four years earlier. The material for the gazebo was donated by 84 Lumber Co., and the labor was provided by firemen and other volunteers.
Captain Patrick G. Henry,California Dept. of Forestry & Fire Protection
Captain Patrick Henry, worked with inmate crews, and one of their activities was making picnic tables out of old growth redwood to sell at silent
auctions benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A picnic table, made in Pat’s memory by the inmates at Parlin Fork; it was placed in a beautiful spot in MacKerricher State Park, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Wildland Firefighter Memorial Walk
The Wildland Firefighter Memorial Walk memorializes the 32 firefighters that have died on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, located at the Columbia Breaks Fire Interpretive Center in Entiat, WA.
Scholarships and Service Awards
Robert O’Toole, Washington Twp. Fire Dept. (Ohio, 1998)
The Noon Optimist Club of Centerville established the Robert J. O’Toole Award in Bob’s memory, to honor members of the community who unselfishly give of themselves in service to others.
Charity or Community Events
Jackie Beard, City of Greensboro Fire Department (North Carolina, 2002)
Greensboro, North Carolina remembered one of its fallen fire heroes with a charity fundraiser in his name to raise money for the American Heart Association. Jackie Beard, a much respected fire captain, died in the line of duty in 2002.
Stephen Siller, FDNY
(New York, 2001)
On 9/11/01, he was off duty when he heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center on his scanner. He turned his truck around and drove back toward the scene. When his truck was prohibited from entering the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, he continued on foot with his gear strapped to his back. The Tunnel to Towers run retraces Stephen’s route that day and raises money for several charity organizations.
Christa Dawn Burchett, Paintsville Fire-Rescue-EMS
An Annual Memorial Blood Drive is held in honor of Christa Burchett. Christa was all about saving lives. She always gave blood and was a full organ donor. There is a blood drive and then end the day with a candlelight service for her.
Timothy L. Sanborn, Clinton Area Fire and Rescue
The Timothy “Grandpa” Sanborn Memorial Golf Outing is held in honor of Tim and to provide scholarships to graduating seniors in Clinton County who have a parent who is a current firefighter. Proceeds from the event have also helped Tim’s department, Clinton Area Fire & Rescue, for needed equipment/gear/training; and other non-profit organizations, including the NFFF.
Firefighter James E. Bohan, FDNY
(New York, 1998)
Firefighter James Bohan, along with two other firefighters, died in a line-of-duty fire on December 18, 1998, trying to save a woman in Brooklyn. The day before James died, he was delivering toys to sick children at Brookdale Hospital, along with Christopher Bopp, another fireman who died with him. His family established the annual James Bohan Toy Drive. Families are asked to contribute gifts, which are collected by E262 in Queens, and given to children with Down Syndrome on Long Island, sick children in St. Mary’s Hospital, Queens, and Hour Children, an organization that helps children of incarcerated women.
Firefighter Thomas J. Foley, FDNY
(New York, 2001)
Tommy’s sister, Joanne Foley Gross, completed a documentary on Tommy’s life titled “Legacy of a Young Hero.” There are so many wonderful memories included in this beautiful and inspiring documentary. To watch the trailer go to: firefighterthomasjfoley.com.
Firefighter/EMT Mark B. Davis
(New York, 2009)
Mark Davis, 25, of Cape Vincent Volunteer Fire Department in New York, was shot and killed by a patient he was helping to treat on an EMS call. Mark’s family has been working to get legislation passed to make the murder of an emergency services worker a first degree murder with a penalty of 25 years to life without the possibility of parole. The bill finally became law on January 15, 2013 and was signed on what would have been Mark’s 29th birthday.