Sandown Fire/Rescue to Attend Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend

SANDOWN – Members of the Sandown Fire Department will again head to Emmitsburg, Md., next month to support their fire service brothers and sisters from across the country. The group will be traveling to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service, an event they attended last year to honor fallen Sandown firefighter/paramedic Harold Frey, who died during a training exercise in January of 2011.

Each year the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) holds a weekend-long event in Emmitsburg to honor those who have lost their lives. The weekend includes a candlelight vigil and the unveiling of the memorial wall that bears the names of firefighters who died in the preceding year. Included are survivor support sessions for families and fellow department members of the fallen firefighters. The weekend culminates with a nationally televised memorial ceremony in which each survivor is presented with an honorary NFFF badge, a rose and several other items of remembrance.
This year the event takes place Oct. 4 to 6.
Sandown fire chief Bill Tapley said he was impressed with the events last year. “I was really impressed with all that they do for the families,” said Tapley. After returning home, Tapley said the experience was humbling, and proof that the service takes care of its own.
The fire service is often referred to as a brotherhood and a sisterhood, and Tapley said that ethos is proudly displayed in Maryland. It was worth going not only to connect with fellow firefighters and rescue workers, but to do what they could for those who have lost loved ones through their service, said Tapley.
According to Sandown Capt. Jon Goldman, “Sandown Fire Rescue members in attendance last year were so moved by the event and support the department received, they vowed to return every year to support other fire service survivors who will attend to honor their own.”
This year members of the Sandown department will act as honor guard members at the “Sea of Blue” during the National Memorial Service, an event that consists of nearly 1,000 uniformed members standing at attention during the service to show the surviving family members and departments the support they will always have from the fire service.
“This year we’ll be on the other side,” said Tapley.
This year the department has the “solemn honor” to support those grieving the loss of New Hampshire Fire Chief Rick Schaefer of Hopkinton. Schaefer died in the line of duty on Sept. 2, 2012.
Since the death of Frey, members of the Sandown Fire Department, led by Tapley, have become active in helping others navigate line of duty deaths as part of the New Hampshire State Firemen’s Association.
Attending this year will be Tapley, Goldman, deputy chief Mike Devine, Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician Dyllan Tapley, FF/EMT Kevin Major and FF/EMT Ethan Major.

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