Maryland’s fallen fire heroes were honored Sunday in Annapolis.
Firefighters and fire rescue crew members who died on duty were honored by the Maryland Fire Rescue Services Memorial Foundation at its annual ceremony.
A moment of silence was held for Patricia Osburn, a North Beach Volunteer EMT who died on May 26 while transporting a resident experiencing a medical emergency. She will be formally honored at next year’s ceremony.
Gov. Larry Hogan spoke, giving his respects to the family members of the fallen.
“We pray that all of you continue to find comfort and strength knowing that to your loved one it wasn’t just a job. It was a life’s calling. We pray that you find love knowing there truly is no greater love than to lay down one’s life in service to others,” Hogan said.
Kathy Hedrick, whose son died in the line of duty in 1992, also spoke to the crowd. She told families to build a legacy for their fallen loved ones.
“You know, sometimes it is so difficult to put into words how to describe your loss, or figure out how to put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes it is a little easier with action,” she told the crowd.
The names of seven fallen heroes who died between 1902 and 2018 were added to the wall of honor at the Maryland Fire Rescue Services Memorial downtown.
As the story of each person’s death was told, members of their family and fire department stood to represent them.
The most recent death honored before Osburn’s was Assistant Chief Christopher Pryor, 45, of LaVale Volunteer Fire Department. Pryor died of cardiac arrest after returning home from responding to a crash. He was a third-generation volunteer who had served 16 years in the department.
Assistant Chief Michael Nelson of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service stood for his great-grandfather, Chief Edwin Sackett. Sackett died at 63 in 1959 after working a 24-hour shift for the Chevy Chase Fire Department, which he served for 32 years.
“The biggest takeaway from this is that we never forget,” Nelson said. “They make an effort to find those whose families gave their lives for citizens.”