Submitted by his parents
Adam Lee Weisenberger‚ age 19‚ was a lifelong resident of Madison County‚ MS. He attended Madison Central High School where he was a member of the Air Force ROTC. He was a student of Holmes Community College and a communicant at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Gluckstadt. A constant fixture at the Catholic Youth Organization‚ he attended most all functions. Adam was an avid hunter and fisherman‚ but spent most of his spare time performing volunteer public safety work for the Gluckstadt Fire Department‚ Madison County Emergency Management Agency and the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. He enjoyed helping others and tirelessly gave of his time. He was quick to respond when called and always did what was needed of him. His joy for life was evident in his work and with everyone with whom he fellowshipped. He was happy and easygoing and leaves behind many friends and family who loved him.
He proudly followed in the footsteps of his father‚ Bill‚ Director of Madison County Emergency Management Agency and his older brother‚ Will‚ a dispatcher at the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. Bill also serves as President of the Board of Commissioners for the Gluckstadt Fire Dept. where Will and his wife Angie are also volunteers. So it was natural for Adam to volunteer and serve his community. He was an Explorer with the Sheriff’s Office at the age of 14 and rode with the deputies on their patrol knowing one day he would be one too. He performed many duties around the fire station training along with the firemen waiting on the day he tuned 18 to become an ‘official’ member.
On March 20‚ 2002‚ Adam was on scene rendering aid to an accident victim when he was struck by another vehicle and lost his life. He died in the line of duty‚ doing what he loved.
Following his death‚ numerous stories of things he had done‚ not only for those he knew‚ but strangers who Adam had done good deeds for. One lady called to say she did not know Adam personally but recognized his face from the television coverage. He had stopped along the highway and changed her flat tire on a rainy day and comforted her and her children. He never told anyone of this.
Sgt. Todd Wilson of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department penned this poem the following day of his death.
I lost a good friend the other day
He was trying to save a life when his was taken away
Danger never entered his mind
As he arrived on the scene one last time
His thoughts were on those in need
Like always- he was trying to do a good deed
Over the radio I heard dispatch say
‘Officer Down‚ Officer Down’
And all I could do was pray
But my prayers were not to be
God has taken His angel for the day
I wouldn’t want to remember him any other way
The Hero that died that rainy March day
Submitted by his wife
John D. West‚ Sr. ‘Westy’ was a 12-year career firefighter/emt. with the Camden County Fire Marshals office‚ and a volunteer serving over 23 years with the Mt. Ephraim Volunteer Fire Dept. John along with two other firefighters died on the morning of July 4‚ 2002 while attempting to rescue three little girls from their burning home. John or ‘Westy’ best known on the fire grounds and around town‚ was also a Fire Investigator and K-9 handler for Camden County and a K-9 handler for the ATF. John and his partner Raider were one of 46 K-9 teams‚ the 1st. Federally certified team in N.J. Raider is now retired and lives at home with Alyssa‚ Nikki‚ and Johnny D.
While at the Camden County Fire Marshal’s office John was a Licensed Fire Official/Fire Inspector‚ a New Jersey State Fire Instructor Level II‚ also trained in confined space and high angle rescue. He instructed at the Fire Academy and for both the Camden and Gloucester County Police Academies. John assisted with the Fire Watch program but he most enjoyed Firefighting and Fire Investigations. His ability and dedication were evidenced in some of the prolific cases he tirelessly worked to conclusion. John truly loved his job!
At age 16 Westy joined the United Fire Co. of Mt. Ephraim. With no other family member involved in the fire service he had his own passion to be involved‚ and involved he was. Westy went from a junior firefighter‚ to holding ranks as Lieutenant‚ Captain‚ and Asst. Chief and as Chief. He was also Secretary and a member of many committees‚ purchased fire trucks and organized April Awareness our towns Fire Prevention that includes the schoolteachers‚ staff‚ children and community. With that passion he along with others reorganized and consolidated the town’s two fire departments into what we have today as the Mt Ephraim Fire Dept.‚ were he served as Deputy Chief.
John was a member of many organizations‚ the Camden County Municipal Detectives Assoc.‚ International Assoc. of Arson Investigators‚ the U.S. Police Canine Assoc.‚ C.C. Fire Chief’s and Officers Assoc.‚ N.J. State Juvenile Arson Task Force‚ Life Member of the State Firemen’s Assoc‚ N.J. Fireman’s Exempt Assoc. and the N.J. State F.M.B.A. Local 111.
John also received a few awards along the way‚ Professional Firefighters of NJ- Meritorious Service Award‚ Camden County Fire Chiefs- Class IV Valor Award‚ Camden County Prosecutors Service Award. and Camden County Detectives Assoc.- Meritorious Service Award.
He was also very involved in our town‚ the town he grew up in and stayed to raise his family. A past member of the Mt. Ephraim Volunteer Ambulance Squad. Coached and played for the former Mt. Ephraim street hockey league‚ he played and then coached for the Mt. Ephraim Boys Little League‚ and coached for the Girls Softball. John was a member of the Mt. Ephraim School Board‚ and played a very active roll in our schools. The only goal he never fulfilled was to serve on the town’s board of commissioners and having his own investigating business with daughter Nikki.
John was a wonderful husband to Angela of 15 years and a very devoted father to Alyssa 13‚ Nicole 10‚ Johnny Jr. 2‚ and adult son Daniel. John always made time to call in the middle of the day just to say hi or in the middle of the night to let us know he was okay. He came home for lunch to see his baby boy‚ and he never missed a Friday night Flyers firehouse date‚ dance recital or a school activity. He was my best friend‚ a great friend and co-worker and respected by all that new him. We will forever miss your enthusiasm for life and the great ‘Westy’ smiles that lit up the room and our world.
I’m not sure why god took you from us‚ but I do know he knew he was getting a great guy. You left this earth doing what you loved and with the highest of respect a true HERO.
Submitted by his wife
Travis Lyn Wiens‚ ‘Yepper’ or ‘Yep Man‚’ 28 years old‚ lost his life in the line of duty on August 12‚ 2002 while fighting a grass fire when a civilian truck hit the fire truck Travis was on.
Travis joined the Explorer’s Program with the Shepherd Volunteer Fire Department in Shepherd‚ Montana when he was 15 years old. He served in the Explorer’s Program for 3 years gaining skills and training to be a fire fighter and first responder. At the age of 18 Travis joined the Shepherd Volunteer Fire Department and served as a fire fighter/first responder. When Travis moved to Billings‚ Montana he continued to serve with the Shepherd Volunteer Fire Department until he graduated high school. He then moved to Las Vegas‚ Nevada where he became an EMT. While in Las Vegas Travis served with the local fire department while working for Mercy Ambulance Service. Travis moved back to Billings‚ Montana and volunteered with the city fire department while continuing to work as an EMT for Billings Ambulance Service. In the fall of 1997‚ Travis and his wife moved to Electra‚ Texas and he joined the Punkin Center Volunteer Fire Department and later transfered to Electra Volunteer Fire Department where he served until his move to Wichita Falls‚ Texas in 2001. Travis was a member of the Wichita East Volunteer Fire Department until a cross town move required him to transfer departments‚ he then became a member of the Wichita West Volunteer Fire Department where he was serving at the time of his death. As well as serving the community as a volunteer fire fighter Travis was also an employee of American Medical Response. He was working toward his dream of being a Licensed Paramedic and serving his community. Travis was always continuing his training and education to stay current on his fire fighting and EMT skills‚ he wanted to be the best that he could be. No matter what fire department or ambulance service he was a part of he gave 100% of himself.
Travis served his community in other ways as well. He was a Licensed Foster Parent from 1998-2002. During this time he fostered 10 children and received numerous awards and certificates. He dedicated every Saturday he was off to be involved with Street R.A.G.E.‚ his church’s program to give the youth of the city a positive alternative to the violence in which they live. The theme for 2002 was Heroes in the Ring‚ Travis became the ‘hero in the ring’ showing everyone what being a servant to all was truly about. To Travis there was no greater reward than seeing that he had made a positive difference in someone’s life‚ no matter their age.
The Maltese Cross is the symbol used to recognize fire fighters. It shows protection and represents the principles of charity‚ loyalty‚ chivalry‚ gallantry‚ generosity to friend and foe and dexterity in service. It means that the fire fighter who wears this cross is willing to lay down his life to help others in need. That was the kind of person Travis was‚ no matter what the need he was willing to help other at any cost.
Travis’s sense of humor to crack a joke when least expected lightened the somber times‚ yet he took all aspects of Fire and EMS tasks seriously because he wanted to become the best he could be. He took pride in being part of a team of professionals.
Travis is remembered with many fond memories by his co-workers. They will tell you there is not just one special moment to identify who Travis is because he still lives in the hearts of those who knew him best. One co-worker remembers a time when a friend was in need of food and toys during the Christmas holidays‚ Travis drove up to the station and had a trunk full of groceries and a back seat so full of toys that his foster son barely had room to sit‚ he looked like part of the toy collection. This was just a part of what Travis was all about‚ he did things like this on a regular basis. He always had an ear-to-ear smile‚ the most positive attitude‚ and so caring and compassionate. Travis quickly became know as Yepper or Yep Man because every time he was asked to do something‚ if he had not already volunteered for it‚ his answer was always yep‚ on or off the clock. Travis’s partner remembers he was always ready to help‚ taking time to learn and then taking that knowledge to a higher level‚ striving to be the best EMS partner he could be and anticipating her moves making her job easier. She recalls a time when they had worked a serious accident involving a pin-in‚ the patient died but she found Travis sitting on the back of the ambulance crying. He felt there should have been something more he could have done to save the patient’s life. Another time she recalls a woman watched her husband die in their home and Travis put his arm around her and comforted her until other family members arrived. She told him that he was the most compassionate EMT and that his care for the wife was the most heartfelt gift he could give in her time of sorrow. Ironically this was the last call they ran together.
Travis loved his wife‚ family‚ friends‚ job‚ and volunteering with the fire department. He gave 100% every time‚ every call‚ every person. He loved being a foster parent and every foster child had so much love and respect for Travis that they all lovingly called him ‘Dad.’ This made it hard to know where the fostering left off and the real parenting began‚ but this was Travis.
He answered his calling in life‚ a great husband‚ friend‚ foster parent‚ most impressive Fire fighter and EMT with dedication beyond comprehension. He answered many fire and EMS calls but he answered his last call on Monday‚ August 12‚ 2002 when God called him home.
Travis proved himself to be the best. His unselfishness and willingness to put others before himself makes him our hometown hero. The Star of Life is the EMS symbol. Travis is truly a Star of Life and his star will shine forever in the sky and in our hearts. In May 2003 Travis was honored with the Star of Life Award by the American Ambulance Association and by American Medical Response in remembrance of his dedication and compassion for his job and his community. What an impressive man at such a young age. We all hope that in our life time we can accomplish even half of what Travis has in his.
Travis‚ we miss you but you will never be forgotten‚ for you are a true hero. Go Get ‘Em Boy‚ Sic ‘Em!!
Henry J. Wissel‚ 55‚ chief‚ Heidelberg Volunteer Fire Department‚ Carnegie‚ died December 7‚ 2002‚ when he suffered a heart attack while fighting a structure fire. He joined the department at age 16 and served for almost 40 years. His son and brother are also active members of the department. Wissel served a term as chief in the 1980s and had just begun serving as chief for a second time. He worked at Reichold Chemical. He was dedicated to his community.
Submitted by his daughter
Alan Wyatt was a multi-faceted individual with diverse interests and loves. He was a wildland firefighter‚ timber faller‚ cattle rancher‚ working cowboy‚ leather craftsman and preacher. He possessed the enviable power to teach. Whether it was young men wanting to learn the art of timber falling or firefighting‚ young people wanting to learn about ranch life or people desiring to learn about the Lord‚ Alan inherently knew the best way to approach their level and drive the lesson home. His stories were notorious and he could always make you laugh with his cowboy humor.
Alan worked as a professional timber faller for 29 years‚ logging throughout the western United States and Alaska during those years. For approximately the last 10 years Alan had spent the summers working for the United States Forest Service (USFS) as a direct firefighter and also training military troops in emergency fire fighting practices and chainsaw safety. He received military accolades for his effort of joint training between the US military and the USFS. He was a consummate professional‚ revered by many for his skills and known by all as extremely safety-conscious.
Alan’s love for his family and his God was evident in all things. As an uncle shared‚ ‘Al always spoke respectfully and lovingly of his family.’ His brother-in-law wrote‚ ‘I always felt that his family was in good hands and I was always confident for their future.’ His word was gold and his integrity steadfast. A business associate shared‚ ‘Al always did what he said he would do. He paid when he said he would and showed up when he said he would. I could trust him and I believed him to be a real friend.’
On July 2‚ 2002‚ Alan was killed by a green aspen tree with a burned out root system while clearing the area of hazard trees on the fire line of the Missionary Ridge Fire in Bayfield‚ Colorado. Alan died a hero protecting the homes and property of the Bayfield citizens. In one moment‚ the world lost a tremendous individual and the Lord gained a powerful soldier.
Zachary M. Zigich‚ 18‚ firefighter‚ U.S. Forest Service contractor‚ died June 21‚ 2002‚ when a van crashed while carrying firefighters from Oregon to Colorado to fight a wildfire. He had just been offered a position as a starting defensive end on the football team at Carol College in Montana.
He had character. He loved his mother and valued his whole family.
Submitted by his sister
Kelly was the ‘little brother’ that was adopted into our family at the time of birth. He died August 26‚ 2003‚ in a van accident on the way home after fighting the ‘South Fork Fire’ in Idaho. Kelly is remembered as a good friend by many.
He was born in Portland‚ Oregon June 8‚ 1965. He was raised and lived his live in Beaverton‚ Oregon. Kelly loved the outdoors‚ including fishing and hunting. He‚ at times‚ found it difficult to find his ‘place’ in life. He did struggle with the difficulties in his life and as a result wanted his independence at an early age. Through all of this‚ Kelly seemed to be getting his life straightened out. He was a very hard worker and when he took on a job‚ he did it well. He enjoyed his job as a firefighter and because of this he made many friendships with his coworkers.
Kelly was preceded in death by his mother‚ Patricia J. Hammer‚ June 1984; his father Richard R. Hammer‚ died 4 months (December 2003) after Kelly’s death. He is survived by two sisters‚ Lori L. Kyser and Kim J. Carlson. Kelly will be truly missed by his sisters and all his friends. He is finally ‘free’ to live his life with those in his family and friends who have passed on.
Submitted by his wife
Dave was a volunteer firefighter‚ living in a ranching community and working for the Meade County Highway Department.
Most important in his life was his wife‚ Rhonda‚ and 3 children‚ Jeremiah‚ Melitta and Alyssa.
Dave lost his life while fighting a grass fire on his loved South Dakota Prairie. He sustained 3rd degree burns over 80% of his body.
Dave loved to hunt and fish. He also loved all sports. He participated in softball‚ basketball‚ football‚ track and rodeo in his ‘younger years‚’ and never missed one of his children’s sport events in his ‘later years.’
Louis A. Rickards‚ 55‚ volunteer president‚ Lewes Fire Department‚ died February 3‚ 2002‚ in a motor vehicle accident as he traveled to a regional firefighters association meeting. He served with the department for 39 years‚ including 25 years as chief or assistant chief and 13 terms as president. In 1997‚ he was named Chief Emeritus of the department. Rickards was involved in the construction of two fire stations and helped compile a complete history of the department. He was a Delaware State Police trooper for over 25 years and received two Superintendent’s Citations for bravery. He served for six years with the U.S. Army Reserve. His two grandchildren were his whole world.
Submitted by his wife David Michael Turney was 50 years old when he died May 6‚ 2002‚ unexpectedly while on duty as a 911 dispatcher for Garrett County‚ Maryland. Even though Dave was not on a fire call at the time of his death‚ it was no surprise to find that he had been on one within 24 hours of his death.
Dave was a 26-year veteran of the Oakland Volunteer Fire Department‚ where he served in his current position as treasurer for the past 16 years. He was also a 27-year veteran of the Southern Garrett Rescue Squad‚ where he served as treasurer for the past 2 years. As if these two groups were not enough to keep Dave busy‚ he was also an active member of B.P.O.E. Lodge 2481 where he was serving as Leading Knight.
Over the years‚ Dave was involved in many groups and functions. In addition to those already mentioned‚ he served as Mayor of Mountain Lake Park‚ Maryland‚ for 12 years. As one person stated‚ ‘his beloved Mountain Lake Park.’
As quoted by one of Dave’s friends and fellow firefighters‚ ‘Many people join various organizations in their community in order to build an impressive resume or as a means of looking to gain something material in return. Some‚ however‚ do so purely from a desire to be of service to others in as many ways as possible. That was Dave Turney.’
Dave is survived by his wife. Rose Ann (Davis) Turney; a brother; Gary Turney; a sister‚ Sharon Turney; other family members; and many friends within the community that will never forget all he did to make all our lives a little better in one way or another.