This article brings me to the annual Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial Services held on May 16 and 17, 2015 in Kingdom City. I believe this is the most important activity I am involved in every year and I will commit a large portion of my article to it.
As they have done for many years, I thank Chief Greg Lubbert and the Central Callaway Fire Protection District that spent many hours cleaning all of the granite walls and other tasks the Thursday night prior to the services.
A special thank you to Lieutenant Steve Nichols from the Little Dixie Fire Protection District for overseeing the maintenance of the memorial site year after year. Lieutenant Nichols always has everything looking good for the annual services. There are many people that help Steve with this task. Thank you!
Many hours were also given for the candlelight service and the Sunday morning services. Keith Smith of Warrenton Fire Protection District, Bill Albus of Little Dixie Fire Protection District and the Missouri State Fire Marshal office, and Linda Coleberd of Hannibal all worked many hours gathering information and developing the programs for both services. I thank each of you!
The candlelight honor guard was provided by the Little Dixie Fire Protection District and the St. Joseph Fire Department. Retired Battalion Chief Jim Weaver from the Columbia Fire Department did an excellent job with the message to over 200 attendees at the candlelight service. Thanks to Blue Ice Productions and Chairman Keith Smith from Warrenton, Missouri, who provided all of the recording and video services for the entire memorial, as they have done for many years at no charge to the memorial foundation. Many, many thanks to Greg and Rose Rosebrock.
Each year our history is documented by Don Vaucher. Don is at every event and photographs all the activities and provides FFAM with prints and CD’s and never asks for recognition or payment for his services. Thank you Don and Harriett.
This year we were honored to have Director Lane Roberts from the State of Missouri’s Department of Public Safety attend and present proclamations to the 2014 line of duty death family members.
Missouri State Fire Marshal Greg Carrell was our keynote speaker at the Sunday morning memorial service. I heard many compliments and I believe Greg had a very good message. Thank you.
The MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute’s Director David Hedrick gave our opening invocation and as always did an excellent job. David always accepts my request to help and I appreciate his “can do” attitude.
Our honor guard commander again this year was Chuck Beaty from the St. Joseph Fire Department. Several LODD’s were honored from the St. Joseph Fire Department this year. Commander Beaty did an outstanding job coordinating honor/color guard and pipe and drum members from many fire departments throughout Missouri. Thank you Chuck and the members of the many honor guards and pipe and drum members.
I really appreciate all of the memorial board members that helped in so many ways throughout both services by reading all of the names, ringing the bell, and placing the wreaths and turnout gear.
A special thank you goes to Rich and Pam Gordon for hauling the chairs from Jefferson City, and to Jared Jackson, and Tim Hodges along with the Junior Firefighters from Little Dixie Fire Protection District. They helped set up the chairs to use at both services and then returning them for us. Again, a special tanks to Glenn Dittmer and Janet Cain that come every year and help with anything asked of them. True volunteers, what more can I say. Also to Don Hahne and Steve Paulsell who performed Taps flawlessly to close our services.
Ladder trucks were provided by the Columbia Fire Department and the Jefferson City Fire Department to fly the U.S. flag at the entrance to the memorial walkway. Washington Volunteer Fire Company and Charles Staats provided their antique trucks again. Thanks to all!
We also appreciate Christopher Brennan and the Air Methods Helicopter and flight crew for its fly-over and salute to our fallen comrades.
I also need to thank everyone else that helped in any way that made our annual memorial services special to everyone, especially to the families being honored.
Thank you to the FFAM Auxiliary for providing and distributing the ribbons and to Doc Kritzer and his wife for having statues and souvenirs available to all attendees, and to Dr. Baker and his wife for the field of flags. The Baker’s represent us all over the state and I appreciate their support.
There were many, many more that helped in some way, and I thank each one of you. I apologize if I have forgotten anyone, as I surely have, because it takes so many to get ready for such an event. To those that I did not mention by name, I appreciate your faithfulness every year.
I understand another excellent Summer Fire School was presented in Jefferson City by the University of Missouri Fire and Rescue Training Institute. Congratulations to David Hedrick and staff.
The FFAM State Fair Fire Department Committee has been working many hours preparing for the 2015 State Fair. A work weekend was conducted on June 5-7 with many firefighters in attendance helping. Thank you for your service and commitment to the success of FFAM. Another work weekend will be held on July 17-19, 2015 at the fire station.
Everything is shaping up for another great time at the 2015 Missouri State Fair. A full staff of FFAM members from throughout the state have been selected to work and I am looking forward to another great time seeing old friends and making new ones. Chief R.B. Brown has worked diligently and invested many hours selecting and preparing his staff to lead and provide the professional fire and rescue/medical services the patrons of the Missouri State Fair have become accustom to.
I am very thankful to have all of the FFAM officers, directors and assistant directors, committees and many others serving the needs of the fire service of Missouri.
As always, I am available in the event you have any questions or comments. You may contact me at 573-581-6235 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kenneth Hoover, President
Fire Fighters Association of Missouri