Reflections of Our Past

For the past several months, I have been working on a very large project with the Employee Recognition Committee at work. While every member of the department was aware that we had lost four of our members in the Line of Duty/ On-Duty, the proper recognition has never been given to their families. During the year of death, I am sure there was communication between the family and the department. The new guys hiring in are clueless to who they are, and many are clueless to their story. We are not fortunate enough to have a large bronze statue memorializing those members, yet we did not even have contact with the families before the project. I have touched on this in the past, but it is finally about to come full circle.

We knew their names, we had seen their faces, but the stories had been lost in time.

Louisville, KY LODD Memorial

Since hiring in, I had heard mention of the names of those who passed away in the Line of Duty, but I couldn’t tell you every little detail about each of them. I knew we had lost one in an apparatus accident, one in a fire, etc., but I didn’t know their stories. Through countless phone calls, a trip to the Kingsport Archives, digging through old news paper articles, and many hours compiling information, the Employee Recognition Committee has completed our task at hand. We have uncovered the details on each of the deaths, located and contacted family members, and designed a memorial wall to be placed at our Fire Station 1.

This coming Saturday, August 31st, the families of OUR fallen will be recognized. With the help of many individuals, we are ready. A wall in the foyer at our Central Fire Station will now display a granite header reading: Kingsport Fire Department Line of Duty Deaths. It will also have a department patch on each side of those dark terms bearing the recognizable black line covering from side to side. Under the header, a plaque for each member will feature information about the individual and a photo.

If you are in the area or are able to attend, I think it is going to turnout to be a nice ceremony. The ceremony will be from 2PM-4PM and will consist of presentations to each family. The memorial wall will also be unveiled at the conclusion of the ceremony. While I am very nervous about speaking, this is something that I am very passionate about. I have helped show my dedication to the project by spearheading some of the legwork.

I would recommend that if your department doesn’t have a memorial to those who have been killed in the Line of Duty that you take the time to create one. With many departments on tight budgets, it doesn’t have to be the fancy bronze statue. We were able to create a nice way to remember those who served before us and be sure that they did not die in vain.

Who They Are

Lt. Hicks

Ray Hicks

Rank: Lieutenant
Age: 31 years old
Years of Service: 7
Cause of Death: Injuries sustained while fighting a commercial structure fire
Date of Death: April 29, 1949

 

Asst. Chief Lisenby

Denver Lisenby

Rank: Assistant Chief
Age: 52
Years of Service: 24
Cause of Death: Injuries sustained during a motor vehicle accident while responding.
Date of Death: April 27, 1972

Cpt. Harvel

 

Henry Harvel
Rank: Captain
Age: 52
Years of Service: 25
Cause of Death: Heart attack while on-duty
Date of Death: January 26, 1987

Cpt. Berry

 

Charles Berry
Rank: Captain
Age: 54
Years of Service: 21
Cause of Death: Apparatus roll-over
Date of Death: January 5, 1988

 

The event will be held at 130 Island Street, Kingsport, TN 37660. If you have any questions regarding the event, feel free to contact me. I look forward to recognizing the individuals and presenting the items to the family members.