A turnout coat and helmet hangs in the center of a long hallway. A plaque resting on the top of each pair of boots bears the name of a fallen firefighter and their department as well as the day they paid the ultimate sacrifice.
The display outside the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits program office was created by Hope Janke, the director, and her staff.
“Its simple, yet fitting, I think,” she said. “Its an honor to be involved, and help survivors.”
Some of the plaques contain pictures of the fallen heroes. Some are wearing turnout gear, while others are portrayed in casual settings.
The 146 displayed represent those whose families have submitted applications to receive benefits last year and so far this year.
“It’s quiet here,” she said pointing to the hallway. “There’s a certain hush that comes over people when they realize what this is – a tribute to fallen firefighters.”
Howard County, Md. Fire and Rescue as well as the D.C. Fire Department provided the boots and gear.
This is the first time PSOB officials have created a memorial for fallen firefighters. It was established in conjunction with the annual Congressional Fire Services Institute’s events.
Last year, the staff established a memorial honoring law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.
During National Police Week next month, another walk of honor will be created for officers.