Mark Wayne Morrison was born February 4‚ 1959‚ in Du Bois‚ Pennsylvania. He was the only child of Joan and Wayne Morrison. He grew up as part of a large‚ extended family in Brockport and Clearfield‚ Pennsylvania. After graduation from high school‚ he attended classes at State College and worked for the railroad operating heavy equipment.
Family was important to Mark‚ so he relocated to Florida after a large number of family members moved south. After moving to Fort Pierce‚ Florida‚ Mark went to work in the construction field. A relative that he lived with was an employee of the Ft. Pierce Fire Department. After many long conversations between the two‚ Mark got the fire bug and knew what he wanted to become. He wished to work and help his community. He continued to work in construction as he completed the Fire Academy at Indian River Community College.
In 1987‚ after completion of the Fire Fighter and EMT Program‚ Mark was employed with the Fort Pierce Fire Department‚ now known as the Saint Lucie County Fire District. In 1996‚ he was promoted to driver/engineer and three years later became a lieutenant.
Mark’s work ethic was beyond reproach‚ only missing work time for death of a parent‚ injury to himself‚ or a family member. He consistently received yearly attendance awards. Mark always arrived very early at work before his shift to be able to get shift report and bond with his brothers and sisters. His commitment to the fire district‚ his firefighter family‚ and the community was always in his heart. He taught CPR in schools and continued to educate himself in the field‚ working on college classes and his degree.
The chief of the fire district described Mark like this: (He was) a company officer‚ the meat and potatoes of our organization…He just excelled. As a company officer‚ he was just a great leader‚ and he was the type of person when there was an emergency‚ he was all about getting it mitigated safely and effectively. Mark was a true professional and loved to serve the community. He was very well respected by his peers. He had this infectious smile about him. It was always good to see Lt. Morrison‚ because he walked in‚ and there was that wonderful grin.
This warm‚ gentle giant was large in both spirit and physique. He was a special person with a huge heart‚ always helping others. Mark was a wonderful husband‚ father and friend. He is survived by his wife‚ Susan; daughters‚ Patricia and Brittany; and numerous in-laws‚ aunts‚ uncles‚ cousins‚ and friends.
Gregory Leon Harris was born July 12‚ 1970‚ to Nathaniel and Nezzie Harris. The eldest of four‚ he had a special and loving bond with each of his siblings. As a child‚ he was inquisitive and eager to experience new things. Greg accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal savior at an early age‚ believing that God was his firm foundation and with him all things were possible. Greg had a strong passion to serve people. He attended Antioch Missionary Baptist Church‚ where he was one of the leaders of the singles’ and men’s ministry‚ served as an usher‚ and sang in the choir.
In high school Greg competed in track and field‚ winning first place for his school district. After graduation‚ he entered the United States Marine Corps. Due to his leadership ability‚ he was chosen to be on the frontlines defending the U.S. in the Gulf War. Greg received the National Defense Service Medal‚ Sea Service Deployment Ribbon‚ South West Asia Service Medal‚ Combat Action Ribbon‚ Meritorious Service Medal‚ Kuwait Liberation Medal‚ and Navy Unit Commendation.
After his honorable discharge‚ Greg worked as a hospital security guard‚ where he was exposed to the world of emergency medicine. He studied to be an EMT at Miami Dade Community College‚ became a state certified firefighter at Florida State Fire College‚ and was certified as a police officer through Valencia Community College. With a variety of skills under his belt‚ Greg prayed about which field to work in. Within a few months the Miami Dade Fire Department offered him a job‚ and he began his career as a firefighter.
Greg continued to work hard‚ earning certifications for driver operator‚ marine firefighter‚ and HAZMAT technician. He served with the department honor guard and on the urban search and rescue team. He chose to work in one of Miami Dade’s busier battalions‚ serving the community in which he was raised and which he cared about so much. With over twelve years of outstanding service‚ Greg gave his life serving others.
Greg had a special passion for the youth in his community and served as a coach for several youth football teams. He helped develop the players’ skills and was a mentor to the boys‚ helping them recognize the importance of an education. He felt he was making a difference that money or accolades could not buy.
Greg was a man of courage‚ determination‚ wisdom‚ and character. People of all walks of life were captured by his friendliness‚ humor‚ and spontaneity. He was a hero and a man of bravery and faith. May the life that he lived speak for him. He has fought the good fight of faith to the very end‚ and God is well pleased.
Joshua was born on July 23‚ 1979‚ in Lake City‚ Florida. Joshua grew up with his loving parents‚ Hollis Burch and Mollie Gaylard. Joshua always had a special place for his mama and daddy‚ and a day never went by that he didn’t talk to them on the phone.
Joshua met his wife‚ Danielle‚ in 1995. They married in June 1999 and celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary in June 2011. They were blessed with two sons‚ Jeremy in 2002 and Jacob in 2005. Joshua’s sons were his pride and joy‚ and he lived each day to the fullest with each of them. He loved to show them the great outdoors and to teach them the respect that it deserved. He shared his passion for hunting and fishing with his sons and frequently took them on the boat or 4-wheeler to fish and scout out the deer for the coming hunting season.
Joshua loved to cook‚ and was often found outside cooking on either the grill or the smoker. He also loved to go to the river‚ and you could bet that if he wasn’t working‚ he was taking his family on the boat to swim in the Santa Fe River.
In 2001‚ Joshua accepted a position with the Division of Forestry in Lake City‚ Florida‚ as a wildland firefighter. He spent ten years of his life doing exactly what he loved. Joshua was very passionate and excited about his job and looked forward to fighting fires as they arose. Many people go their whole life never finding that ‘perfect’ job that makes them feel fulfilled‚ but Joshua was fortunate enough to do just that. There were many times over the years that he contemplated taking other jobs that offered more money‚ but at the end of the day he couldn’t leave the job that made him so happy. He had gained great respect from his fellow coworkers and supervisors alike.
It was always known that if someone needed help‚ Joshua was right there to give a helping hand‚ without being asked. He loved his family and he loved his coworkers.
Brett Fulton was an outdoorsman. He loved being in the woods fighting fire‚ hunting‚ or fishing. His love of putting out fires began when he joined the Division of Forestry in Lake City‚ Florida‚ in 1998 as an aluminum welder. In 1998‚ there were multiple fires started in our hometown area. He started being involved in fires as a parts runner‚ delivering parts to the dozer and truck operators so the machinery could be fixed.
Once a position as forest ranger/wildland firefighter was available‚ Brett applied and received his lifelong dream career. In 2003‚ Brett went to Nacogdoches County‚ Texas‚ to recover debris from the Space Shuttle that crashed and seven people lost their lives. He was in Texas for two weeks recovering what was left of the Space Shuttle. In 2005‚ Brett went to Louisiana to help the families and businesses that were flooded from Hurricane Katrina. He helped storm victims by supplying them with ready to eat meals‚ water‚ and ice. In 2006‚ Brett went to Oregon to help extinguish fires that were threatening people’s homes. In 2007‚ he spent endless hours fighting the Bugaboo Fire that threatened homes in his hometown of Lake City‚ Florida. On June 20‚ 2011‚ he lost his life trying to put out the Blue Ribbon Fire in Hamilton County‚ Florida‚ which was in the same area that his tower site was located. In a field of pine trees‚ the dozer he was operating became hung up on a stump.
Brett was born June 26‚ 1958. His family moved from Ohio to Wellborn‚ Florida‚ when he was three years old. He was very close to his mother and loved her dearly. He came from a large loving family of three sisters and one brother.
Brett was a wonderful‚ caring‚ and fun loving husband to Margaret‚ his wife of 32 years. He was a wonderful father to his daughter‚ Christina‚ and son‚ Brett Michael. One of his favorite pastimes was playing with his granddaughter‚ Sydney‚ and grandson‚ Luke‚ who cherished him. Brett loved dressing up in the Smokey Bear costume just to see the smiles on children’s faces‚ including his grandchildren.
He also found the time to mentor his nephews and good friends. He enjoyed playing basketball‚ Call of Duty on his Xbox‚ and watching the Florida Gators play football.
Victor B. Scott was born in Trenton‚ New Jersey‚ on June 29‚ 1942‚ to David W. and Myrtle Scott. He joined siblings Ethel‚ David‚ Robert‚ and Lois. His parents later adopted 3 girls‚ Judy‚ Terry‚ and Darla. He grew up in Bridgeboro‚ New Jersey‚ and attended school there. At 17‚ he joined the Navy and served aboard the USS Forrestal‚ where he became involved in firefighting. On May 29‚ 1970‚ he married his wife‚ Barbara‚ who had two sons from a previous marriage‚ Thomas and Michael. Together‚ Victor and Barbara had four children‚ David‚ Victor Brian‚ Christopher‚ and Carrie.
The family moved to Florida in 1974‚ living first in Orlando‚ then Pinellas Park‚ Seminole‚ and finally settling in Gilchrist County. In 2000‚ Victor and his wife moved to Otter Creek‚ Florida‚ where Victor was involved with the Levy ARC. After moving there‚ he discovered that the town no longer had a fire department‚ and he went about re-organizing the department‚ making it a fully functional volunteer fire department with proper training‚ equipment‚ vehicles‚ etc. Victor became a Certified Firefighter I‚ a first responder‚ was trained in hazardous materials and certified to wear the suit. He became the fire chief of the department and remained in that position until early 2004‚ when he was appointed mayor of the town and stepped down as fire chief to become the assistant fire chief. Two of his sons‚ Victor Brian and Christopher‚ became involved in training to become volunteer firefighters.
After 9/11‚ Victor took a part-time job delivering fire trucks and emergency vehicles all over the country. It also gave him the opportunity to meet other firefighters all over the country.
On March 16‚ 2004‚ after an extremely rigorous training exercise‚ Victor came home early not feeling very well. The next morning‚ he left to retrieve equipment that he had gotten donated to the fire department. After picking up the equipment‚ he stopped at a truck stop and was later found there‚ in the fire department vehicle slumped behind the wheel. He had suffered a heart attack and died. After a particularly moving funeral‚ he was laid to rest in the National Cemetery in Bushnell Florida.
Victor was a larger than life figure to all who knew him. His death was a shock to everyone. He will be forever loved and missed by his wife‚ children‚ grandchildren‚ and friends.
Mike was a family man‚ great friend‚ patriot‚ and humanitarian. He was born in Omaha‚ Nebraska‚ in 1955. His mother‚ Alice‚ was a nurse‚ and he grew up with three sisters‚ Linda‚ Ann‚ and Karen. His father‚ Leonard‚ became an electronics specialist with the US Army DOD‚ thereby blessing his family with living in several states and overseas.
Mike raised two beautiful children‚ and he loved spending time with them and was active in their lives. A Boy Scout growing up‚ he became a Scout leader in Miami while his son Alan was a Scout. His daughter‚ Laura‚ loved to help Dad fix things. Later‚ they both worked with the high school football team‚ Laura as a water girl and Mike as a videographer.
Mike inherited his passion for flying from his dad. He soloed at sixteen and attended aviation mechanics training at Lake City‚ Florida‚ and Ozark‚ Alabama. After working for several major airlines‚ he later became an aviation maintenance consultant and volunteered overseas during both Desert Storm and Desert Shield. When in Miami‚ he even volunteered with the local police department.
Mike married me‚ Ramona‚ in 2000. He was an amazing partner and a second son to my parents‚ Allie Jean and Horace Howell. Our families are very active in family reunions and preserving family ties and history‚ and he worked hard to build a massive history portfolio of family photos and ancestry. Although a quiet man‚ Mike was mischievous‚ a prankster‚ and laughed easily and often. He was a doer more than a talker.
Mike joined the Chattahoochee Volunteer Fire Department in 2005. He loved the men with whom he worked and the opportunity to serve his community. In his time with the fire department he missed only one call for assistance. He was always looking to find ways to improve his service. He worked at the station as often as possible‚ doing whatever needed to be done. You could see his joy every time he talked about the fire department. On April 23‚ 2006‚ at 51 years old‚ Mike passed away in his sleep following a call to work at an automobile accident and fire. His last words to me were‚ ‘I think the driver will be fine. I’ll tell you all about it in the morning. I love you.’
Mike was laid to rest on April 27‚ 2006‚ his 52nd birthday. I will always be grateful for the support and love of our families‚ friends‚ members of the Chattahoochee Fire Department‚ city government officials‚ and members of the community. I know Mike was proud and very happy to be part of our families and the community he called home.
Richard Rhea was born October 12‚ 1948 in Louisville‚ Kentucky. He grew up as one of five brothers in the small town of Shepherdsville‚ Kentucky‚ next to Louisville. He became interested in the fire department when the elementary school gym caught fire.
Richard graduated from Western Kentucky University with a degree in chemistry. He was also a trained EMT‚ who worked with the ambulance service. Among his other training‚ Richard graduated from firefighter school first in his class for academic and physical training. He was trained in hazardous materials‚ as well as other specialized public safety areas. He served on the Big Bend Safety Council‚ the Wakulla County Planning Commission‚ and was the Loss Prevention Manager for St. Marks Power.
Richard served in the Army after being in the ROTC at Western Kentucky University. He served in Vietnam and was in the reserves for many years. He held rank of 1st lieutenant. He earned two bronze stars.
Richard was heavily involved in church activities. He served as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church and as the building manager. He did everything he could for anyone in need of help. He was a giver to his family‚ friends‚ and total strangers. He was truly the ‘good Samaritan.’
Richard was a hero. He saved many people as a firefighter and EMT. At one fire‚ he saved the life of a baby by carrying the child out of a burning building. He was firefighter of the year. He was also named the most inspirational person in the county. Many people say he was a public icon of safety.
Richard left a wife of 29 years‚ two daughters‚ two sons‚ three granddaughters and a grandson. He also left four brothers‚ a mother-in-law‚ sister-in-laws and a brother-in-law‚ who all loved him dearly. He was a wonderful husband‚ father‚ and friend.
Richard loved movies‚ ice cream‚ hanging out with his family‚ and gadgets. He was most proud of his father of the year trophy. He never met a stranger. He is forever in our hearts and memories. We miss him everyday. Thank God for such a wonderful man.
Robert ‘Bob’ Strang was born in Olmstead‚ Ohio‚ on March 9‚ 1949‚ to Aida and Stanley Strang. He relocated to the Melbourne‚ Florida‚ area in 1973. As a career firefighter‚ Bob was able to enjoy 20 years of service with the Orange County Fire Rescue Department in Orlando and also served 29 years with the Melbourne Fire Department. He rose up the ranks rapidly‚ topping his career at the rank of fire lieutenant with the MFD‚ and was highly respected by his friends and peers alike. He was a member of the International Association of Firefighters‚ Local 1951‚ and throughout his career received numerous awards and certificates.
While doing the job he loved the most-firefighting-Lt. Strang gave his life for his community on March 26‚ 2009. The department and the community lost a vital friend and a valued member of the community. He will surely be missed by his coworkers and by members of other departments including the Melbourne Police Department‚ Palm Bay Fire and Police Departments‚ and the men and women of the Orange County Fire Rescue Department.
Bob is missed by his beloved family and countless friends and admirers throughout Brevard County. In his later years with the department‚ Lt. Strang enjoyed having more free time than he had during the years when he worked two jobs. He enjoyed many hours with his 20-year-old son‚ Derek‚ working on family projects in and around the house and just spending quality time together‚ He motivated Derek to advance his learning skills to a higher level of education‚ impressing upon him that it was imperative to receive as much education as possible to reach your goals. You could tell that Bob certainly enjoyed time with his son when they were together.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. As a chief officer remarked after the tragedy happened‚ ‘It makes you realize how short life is.’ Lt. Bob Strang will be sorely missed in this department.