Randy G. Utley

Randy G. Utley

Submitted by his family

Randy Gene Utley‚ 30 years old‚ was a loving father‚ son and brother. He was always so full of life. He was killed on June 16‚ 2003‚ in a vehicle accident while responding to a call for the Grayson Fire Department.

Randy was a heating technician/inspector‚ carpenter‚ farmer‚ EMT and a volunteer firefighter. Even though he was so busy wiht all these things‚ he still found the time to help coach his son‚ David’s‚ soccer team. He and his son spent most of their free time together doing the things they enjoyed the most: hunting and fishing.

While serving on the fire department‚ he received the ‘Rookie of the Year’ award and then last December‚ after his death‚ his fellow coworkers chose him as the ‘Firefighter of the Year‚’ this plaque they gave to his son‚ in memory of his father.

He will always be remembered by family‚ friends and fellow coworkers for his smile and laughter. You just couldn’t be down and depressed when he was around. Some of his fellow firefighters tell us that every time he went into the station‚ he was always joking with one or more of the guys.

He would never talk or brag about anything he did. During the viewing at the funeral home‚ a lady told some of our family that Randy saved her little girl’s life. While he was putting a new heating system in her home‚ her little girl had a seizure‚ but Randy knew exactly what to do to help her. The mother called Randy her ‘hero’ because of his actions that day. Randy was always ready to help anyone in need – anytime‚ anywhere.

He is‚ and will always‚ be sadly missed by everyone who knew and loved him.

George A. Walker Jr.

Submitted by his daughter

George Walker‚ Jr. was working a structure fire in December 2002 when he was stricken with a heart attack. He was hospitalized and during that time‚ he suffered a series of strokes and congestive heart failure before passing on 2/1/03. He was a 31 year veteran of the Clarksville Department.

He is survived by 3 daughters and 2 sons‚ and 11 grandchildren.

Submitted by his Daughter

As a young girl‚ you gave me the confidence to cope with new learning skills. At age three you found joy when I disassembled the dining room table‚ chairs‚ door knobs and appliances. You showed me compassion with stray animals we took in and cared for.

Later as a growing teen‚ you spent time with my math struggles yet helped me seek out my lost hamster Mr. Carter‚ with a pocket full of Cheerios. As strong and stoic as you were‚ your soul laid bare when you shed tears for your beloved Beagle Snoopy‚ after he was killed by a car.

Today as an adult with children of my own‚ I have patience and love to share with my three children‚ four step-children‚ two nieces‚ a nephew‚ a grandchild‚ two dogs and seven cats. Though our distance grew with time you will always be a part of us all.

Remembering‚
Kimberly

Douglas Clark Waters Jr.

Douglas Clark Waters Jr.

Submitted by his family

Training Officer Douglas Clark Waters Jr. was a proud member of the Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department. He also served as a Seargent for the Cherokee County Fire/EMA Services and a member of the Georgia Smoke Divers. Prior to his role with Cherokee County‚ Clark worked as an Instructor for the Georgia Fire Academy for 4 years. Clark was a proud member of the United States Marine Reserves for 12 years.

Clark loved life and was dedicated to his family and his brothers in the Fire Service. As a Training Officer‚ Clark only knew one way‚ the right way. He approached his professional and personal life with the same intensity and as a result was loved by all. He will be missed but never forgotten.

Clark was a devoted and loving father to his two daughters‚ Morgan and Madison and a dear caring Fianc_e to Cindy Pierce. Clark was the cherished and loving son to Douglas and Van Waters Sr. Clark was a loyal and loving Brother to Jan and Kim. He was a very special Uncle to Emory‚ Ava-Claire‚ Archer‚ Lily and Burell.

Memories:

A friend Don shared this story at Clark’s funeral.

I have known Clark since I joined the Jefferson Fire Department 25 years ago; he would bug me to ride on the tale board like we used to do. He was about 14 years old. Chief once said Clark was the only Fire Instructor who was 35 years old with 30 years of experience. He began riding with his Father‚ Chief Douglas Waters Sr. when he was only 5. This week we lost a Friend‚ a Brother a Fire Fighter and one of the greatest Training Officers. Clark gave his time at the Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department free of charge because he loved what he did. Doug‚ Van‚ Jan and I were on department business when we were informed of Clark’s death. Driving back we could see the lightning in the distance. I told Clark’s parents that was God showing Clark what a flashover was like from Heaven. Van‚ Clark’s mother‚ commented that Clark was probably shooting off fire works‚ something he loved to do on the 4th. I later thought to myself‚ Clark was probably showing Heaven Firefighters how t! o put out a fire the right way.

We love and miss you Clark. With belief in God‚ one day‚ we will join you in your department.

Edward J. Weber

Edward J. Weber

Submitted by his family

In memory of our fallen Chief who died at the scene of a grass fire on April 13‚ 2003‚ while responding to the third fire call of an especially busy day for the department. He was 56.

He spent his entire life in Elkhart Lake‚ over half as a volunteer firefighter. He gave his life to the village‚ not just after the third fire call on April 13‚ but throughout the 33 years he served as a firefighter; with 10 years as Chief. He also served as usher at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and was assistant coach for 15 years of the Elkhart Lake High School Varsity Softball Team.

Ed will forever be remembered in our hearts with his warm‚ friendly smile‚ quick wit and sense of humor‚ and passion for firefighting. As Chief‚ he was well-liked‚ fair and honest; always working in the best interest of the fire department and community. He was respected for his knowledge‚ leadership and being well-organized within the fire department. He lived across from the fire station and spent many hours there.

By all accounts‚ he was an outstanding public servant and a humble and devoted family member and friend. Friends recall how Eddie loved to talk about his family: Alice (wife of 35 years)‚ children (Ann‚ Julie‚ Jeff & Sarah)‚ and grandchildren (Benjamin & Amanda). The family has managed Firemen’s Park in Elkhart Lake since 1995.

He was always quick to give recognition to others and took little time to point out his own accomplishments and contributions.

Red lights flashed as over 100 fire trucks‚ emergency vehicles‚ and law enforcement vehicles throughout the state – from Milwaukee to Green Bay and most small communities in between – formed a motorcade stretching more than a mile from St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Parish Cemetary. News helicopters hovered overhead while photographers lined the roads‚ capturing what was likely the biggest send-off Elkhart Lake has ever seen. Over 500 cards‚ memorials‚ and flowers/plants were received from Alaska to Florida and states in between. Wisconsin Governor Doyle ordered that the flag of the United States and the flag of the State of Wisconsin be flown at half-staff at all state buildings and grounds of the State of Wisconsin beginning at sunrise and ending at sundown on April 17‚ 2003‚ as a mark of respect for Fire Chief Edward J. Weber.

A memorial brick in Chief Weber’s name is at the Wisconsin Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial in Wisconsin Rapids.

Harding O. Wentzell

Harding O. Wentzell

Fire Police Captain Harding O. Wentzell‚ 81‚ with the Mexico Fire Department died on May 5‚ 2003 when he suffered a heart attack while responding to an incident. He was a 23 year veteran with the department and served with the fire brigade at the local paper mill. He received the George Downes Memorial Firefighter of the Year award in 2003.

He was active with the youth fellowship at his church‚ where he served as a deacon. Formerly active in scouting‚ he served as a scout master and was a member of the Order of the Arrow. He also served in the U.S. Army in England‚ Germany and France during World War II.

William A. Wheeler

There is no profile listed for this fallen firefighter.

Kevin M. Whiteley

Kevin M. Whiteley

Submitted by his wife

Kevin Whiteley was a firefighter‚ a loving husband‚ a caring father‚ a good son and the best friend anyone could have. He died at the age of 46 while responding to a fire call on March 26‚ 2003. The plaque on the new fire truck reads ‘In memory of our brother‚ Kevin Whiteley‚ gone but not forgotten’…his memory truly does live on.

Kevin was an eleven-year veteran of the Emmett City Fire Department where he served as the Training Officer. He devoted his time and effort without hesitation to a service he felt proud and destined to fulfill. He loved his fellow firefighters as family and considered the brotherhood to be sacred and powerful.

His department organized a truly amazing tribute for Kevin’s funeral. Fire departments and emergency service organizations from all over Idaho came to be a part of the procession and honor guard. His brothers took him to his final resting place on top of a fire truck.

He was known by all as a cheerful and kind man who worked hard. Anyone who knew him had to like him for his gentle spirit and contagious laugh.

The Kevin Whiteley Memorial Scholarship was established in his name by his fellow firefighters. The award is given to a high school senior who will be pursuing a career in emergency services. A tree was planted in our city’s park with a plaque in his honor. Many kind people have paid tribute to Kevin and provided help for our family. Kevin would be humbled by all the attention‚ but he would have been the first in line to do the same for anyone else.

Kevin was my high school sweetheart and the love of my life for almost 26 years. We have two wonderful children‚ Mendi and Mark. They have become the adults every parent prays for. Kevin and I always considered ourselves blessed to have such amazing kids. He loved them with all his heart and told them often.

Kevin..Every now and then soft as breath upon my skin…I feel you come back again…and I believe.

Gerald Hayswood ‘Chief’ Williams

Gerald Hayswood 'Chief' Williams

Submitted by his family

Gerald Williams was truly loved by his family‚ Dana coworkers‚ fellow firefighters‚ and friends. Everyone knew him as ‘Chief’ which he was named by his coworkers due to his Cherokee Indian descent he is greatly missed by all who knew him. He died on September 30‚2003‚ due to cardiac complications while manning the fire station.

Gerald was truly devoted to his family. He was married to the former Doris Hartline in 1976 who survives. He is also survived by a stepson Scott Harris and wife Danna and a stepdaughter Julie Rupard and husband Terry. He is survived by his step grandsons Christopher and Casey Harris and Matthew and Andrew Rupard. His surviving step granddaughters are Jennifer and Ashley Rupard. His wife would call him ‘Bear’ because he gave such big bear hugs. He never missed an opportunity to see his grandchildren play soccer even if it meant going out of state. He would say ‘yes’ to going out of town for a game at a drop of a hat. His step grandchildren loved rubbing his bald head. Before leaving his family’s home he would flick them on their head followed by a whistle sound.

Gerald joined the Cool Springs Volunteer Fire Department in 1991 at the rank of a Firefighter . In 2002 he was moved to the Traffic/Support Division due to his health reasons. He also faithfully pulled his duty to stay at the fire department one night per month. He commented to his fellow firefighters one day‚ ‘ I’m going to leave the firefighting to them young boys.’ his friends at the fire station stated they thought of him as their father. They even gave him some shirts with his name ‘Chief’ stitched on them. His fellow firefighters served as honor guards as well as pallbearers at the funeral.

Gerald was also employed by Dana Corporation where he worked for 25 years. If anyone spoke the name ‘Chief’ who worked at Dana‚ they truly knew Gerald and how special he was. A Dana fellow coworker wrote a poem in memory of Gerald which stated how much he touched the souls of the people he met. Dana coworkers served as honorary pallbearers at the funeral.

Gerald also loved his lord and country. He attended Union Chapel Baptist church which he talked of often of how the people showed their love toward him. He loved his country and was always patriotic by wearing stars and striped shirts. He would always make an attempt to attend the July 4th gospel singing with his family.

Gerald‚ thank you for loving us so and for serving your fellow man. Thanks for being a friend. We miss your smile!!!! We love you!!!

George O. Wohl Jr.

George O. Wohl Jr.

There is no profile listed for this fallen firefighter.

Lawrence J. ‘Larry’ Yonkin

Submitted by his wife

On November 14‚ 2003 at 0230‚ the alarm sounded. ‘Attention all Gang Mills monitors‚ you have a fully involved house fire at…’ Larry was out of bed immediately and arrived on the scene at 0233. The house was indeed fully involved when firefighters arrived. Neighbors reported a 56-year-old woman occupied the house. The occupant of the house died in the fire. Throughout the day and into evening Larry and his department worked to extinguish the blaze and to participate in recovery operations. He arrived home at approximately 2245. He was exhausted‚ yet had the need to talk through the events of the day as so often he did after responding to fatal incidents. He went to sleep around midnight and never awoke again. At approximately 0440 he suffered a cardiac arrest. CPR was started immediately and advanced life support personnel arrived within six minutes. Despite all the efforts of his wife and EMS personnel‚ he died. He was pronounced at 0530 on Saturday‚ November 15‚ 2003.

He was a loving husband‚ father‚ and grandfather. His wife of thirty-six years‚ Linda‚ his three children‚ and three grandchildren miss him very much. His grandson Zack (age 9) shared an observation that ‘Grandpa wouldn’t be playing golf this year’. Grandma mused that he might actually break par for a change. He enjoyed hunting‚ fishing‚ golf‚ bowling‚ and most of all‚ life.

Larry was born into a family of firefighters in Dushore‚ Pa.‚ and served as a volunteer firefighter for nearly forty years. Larry had recently retired from Corning Incorporated where he had been Supervisor of Emergency Response for the corporation’s science research park. He was enjoying his retirement and spent much of his day at the fire station taking care of projects and the myriad of paperwork inherent in the position of chief.

In addition to serving as the Chief of the fire department‚ Larry was involved in a variety of community service projects. He was assisting the upgrading town fire codes and policies‚ he served on several county committees‚ and local‚ and regional fire chief associations. He had been appointed as an instructor for the New York State Fire Academy in October of 2003. Larry was also an instructor for emergency medical services. Over the years‚ he had trained thousands of first responders and emergency medical technicians.

His funeral procession consisted of apparatus and members from forty-four different fire departments who turned out to pay tribute to a man who had given so much of himself to the fire service and the community. I was totally unprepared for the sight that met my eyes as I walked from the funeral home. There were fire trucks lined up as far as I could see. The procession was at least a mile long as it made its way to the fire station where two ladder trucks had formed an arch under which we all drove. I still see it in my mind’s eye as I write.

He has been honored by several service organizations since his death. He was named distinguished citizen for 2003 for the Corning Area Board of Trade‚ he received honorary plaques from several local fire department rescue squads in recognition of his EMS education efforts; he has also been honored by the regional EMS council for his educational contributions‚ and by Corning Incorporated Emergency Response Team for the effort he expended in developing the team and assuring permanence within the organization.

I submit this document to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation as my final tribute to my fallen firefighter. He will live on in my heart and in my mind. He had a passion for education and firefighting. That passion is part of the legacy he leaves to us‚ his survivors.