Three dozen men and women – all giving a large portion of their lives to public service – were remembered Saturday at a memorial service.
A candle was lit for each of the 36 people – firefighters, paramedics, law enforcement officers – who passed away since 2015.
The memorial service, held at Hebron Baptist Church, was organized by junior firefighters with Harmony Fire Department, and those young men and women played a role in the ceremony. As each name was called, a junior firefighter escorted a family member or colleague to the front of the church to light a candle and then receive a frame containing a placard with the person’s name, affiliation and a logo from that organization. Each was also handed a single red rose.
Annette Redmond, widow of David Marshall Redmond, said she was impressed with the ceremony. “I thought it was very nice, very respectful,” she said.
Retired paramedic and currently a part-time employee at the North Iredell Rescue Squad Steve Wooten used a phrase equated with military service to describe those who were being honored.
“All gave some, some gave all,” Wooten said, applies to those who go into the emergency services field as well.
He said they gave of their time, their talents and themselves for one simple reason – to help their community.
Wooten said it doesn’t matter whether they are paid or volunteer, the commitment is the same.That commitment, he said, has to be there. “It’s got to be there or you’re not going to be there very long,” he said.
Bill Suthard, operations manager of the communications division of the Charlotte Fire Department, said ceremonies like the one Saturday are vital to the first-responder community and their loved ones. “We want to make sure they’re never forgotten,” he said.
Suthard, who has been involved in a program to support the families of fallen first responders, said that is the message he conveys any time he responds to help a family deal with the aftermath of a loss. And, he said, that support extends beyond the immediate family to the first responder’s other family – their brothers and sisters in whatever service for which they are a part.
One of the ways he and others remember their fallen brothers and sisters is to take part in a bicycle ride to the locations where a first responder lived or died. This year, he said, the ride will start in Windsor and travel into South Carolina before ending in Burnsville.
“We want them to know we never forget their sacrifice,” he said
Iredell County Rescue Squad:
Harvey McHargue Jr.
William McLain Sherrill Sr.
North Iredell Rescue Squad
Hal (Junior) Dobson Jr.
David Marshall Redmond
Iredell County Emergency Medical Services
Iredell County Sheriff’s Office
Norman (Junior) Hoover
Statesville Police Department
Billie Bob Proctor
Fred Chapman Jr.
Harmony Fire Department
Shepherds Fire Department
Mooresville Fire Department
Thomas Craven Caldwell (also Mooresville Rescue Squad)
Claude Leon (Wimp) Rogers (also Mooresville Rescue Squad)
Michael Jack Holcomb
Lone Hickory Fire Department
Troutman Fire Department
Sheffield-Calahaln Fire Department
Lake Norman Fire Department