On Saturday, August 31st, 2013, a memorial service was held at Kingsport Fire Station #1 at 130 Island Street to remember those members of the department that have been lost while on-duty throughout the years. The Kingsport Fire Department Employee Recognition Committee started researching the events that had taken the lives of four of their members from 1949 to 1988. The department realized that the disconnection with many of the families had developed throughout time. While each incident was unique in nature, the committee took on the task to track down family members and honor them in the ceremony. Each family was presented with a memorial plaque recognizing the sacrifice and dedication of their loved one by the committee members. They were also presented with the KFD Chief’s Award, an award only given to the firefighters who go above and beyond to rescue a victim from an incident and to the families of the fallen. A Letter of Commendation was presented to the families to provide details of each event.
The ceremony was hosted by Captain John Hollowell, Captain on B-shift at Fire Station #8. The KFD Honor Guard presented the Nation’s colors, and the sound of bag pipes echoed throughout the apparatus bay during the ceremony. The bagpipes were played by Firefighter James Cruthers. Chaplain/Assistant Fire Marshal Barry Carr referenced scripture and told a story of the family similarities that can be found in the fire service today. Fire Chief Craig Dye also welcomed everyone for attending.
Each of the four families were presented with a memorial plaque, Chief’s Award, and Letter of Commendation during the ceremony. Representatives from each family came forward to receive the items, and were extremely honored for the ceremony being held. Several of the family members were not familiar with any of the current fire personnel on the job, and were glad to be welcomed back to the firehouse.
Following the presentations, the each of the four families were escorted to the foyer for the unveiling of the Memorial Wall that now displays a granite header reading ‘Kingsport Fire Department Line of Duty Deaths.’ Under the header, four larger plaques display a photograph of each of the fallen, and also the age, years of service, and dates the individual was employed. The wall is just next to the door leading into the apparatus bay, and will be visible by each of the firefighters as they head out on emergency calls.
With nearly 60 in attendance, there were several familiar faces in the audience. Retired members of the department, members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, emergency service personnel from the area, and the Kingsport Police Department were some of those attending. Each of the four families had several family members attending, and a representative from the Kingsport Times-News covered the event. Click here to read the article.
Photos shown below are courtesy of photographer Tom Rollins: