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    Angry Thanks for nothing

    A few days ago I attempted to start a thread to get some ideas for a memorial tradition we could start in our department for the family members of one of our long time members. It was viewed 52 times and not one reply.

    When I found this forum a short time ago I thought it could be very helpful. I guess I could have figured wrong.

    Maybe nobody has any traditions. Maybe I posted in the wrong spot. I was looking for some help from the so called 'brotherhood' and not even one response.

    Hopefully someone might respond to this one and let me know if I am doing something wrong. I do enjoy reading all the discussion and was looking forward to getting some answers to some of my questions from time to time.

    Scott

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    ****ing in our cornflakes isn't going to help your situation.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Your're welcome.

    But what is a memorial tradition?
    FTM-PTB-EGH-RFB-KTF

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    Thanks guys for a response. I don't think I'm ****ing in anybodys corn flakes but I had to say something to get a response.

    As I said, I really enjoy reading all the threads and try to have the utmost respect for anybody in the fire service. I certainly don't want to offend any of you.

    To answer the traditions question, we have a long time member that probably will be passing away in the near future and I wanted some ideas as to what kind of traditions if any your departments have as a memorial to the family. Something to present to them for all the years of service.

    Thanks

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    I too was confused by the question. Viewed 52 times and, possibly 52 people were unsure of what you wanted. Most of all, I'll guess the majority feel "funny" about memorial discussions for members we have yet to lose. Terminal illness can be tough on everyone.

    When we lost "Ang" the memorial actions began. When he was with us, we were with him and his family. Driving him to his treatments, fund raising, remodling his house, etc.

    After he passed, his wife started a scholarship in his name and an annual Footbal tournament is held in his name to raise money. Don't be ****ed at the brothers here, you asked for input on a very emotional issue which many are not comfortable commenting on because memorials are individual to the person who we lost.

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    Don't be ****ed at the brothers here, you asked for input on a very emotional issue which many are not comfortable commenting on because memorials are individual to the person who we lost. [/B][/QUOTE]



    Thanks for the post E229Lt, this is what I was looking for. I am not ****ed at the brothers, just upset at the lack of response. I needed some responses to get some ideas like the ones you submitted.

    I realize it is an uncomfortable subject, but I just wanted some responses even if it was to tell me that.

    I like the scholarship idea.....

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    A really good answer E229Lt. I have a terminal disease and more likely then not will not see 2005. It's much easier for me, since I have accepted my fate, then it is for those calling and coming to see me, probably for the last time. People I have known for years and years don't know what to say and are understandably very uncomfortable. There seems to me that there will be plenty of time afterwards to gather ideas and implement them with clear thinking that TIME will help with. I do appreciate and respect you mtfd102 for thinking and caring enough about your friend to ask for our thoughts on the subject. Bob
    Bob Compton
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    Thanks for your response Bob, I'm sorry to hear of your situation, my thoughts will be with you.

    You are right, it can be uncomfortable for people that want to see you and aren't sure what to say. Maybe you could offer some greatful insight to all of us that find ouselves in that situation. What can we say or do? I have to assume you would appreciate visits from your friends and probably would like to talk and joke around as usual.

    Some of your insight might help some to feel less 'funny' about dealing with these situations.

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    Sorry about the ****ing in the cornflakes comment earlier.

    We had two of retirees pass away in the last two years. Both of them were very active in youth sports. Our Local sponsors teams in the city's youth sports leagues, and we make our donation "in memory of" for them.

    Each year, we hold Firefighters Memorial Sunday in October during Fire Prevention Week. We invite the families of those who have passed before us, after all, they are still family to us.

    Another way to keep their memories alive is to tell stories about them to the "probies". Bewteen the two LT's mentioned earlier...you could write a book.. of courage, comedy, and dedication to family and "da job"!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Thanks Captain Gonzo, appology accepted but I probably deserved your first response.

    I really like the Memorial Sunday idea, sounds like something that should be a national holiday. We may be able to combine this with our annual open house.

    I hope this thread will continue a while, the ideas coming in are great so far...I'm going to have to leave for a bit now as I have to go do a hovercraft training for our water/ice rescue team.

    I'll check with you all later....Thanks again

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    YO mtfd102,

    When I think of creating a memorial for someone who has not yet passed it sends chills down my Irish spine. You have recieved several ideas thus far as to how to create a lasting memorial however you must come up with one as unique as the individual you are trying to remember. To say that a memorial that has been suggested is worthy for your situation could in fact be shortcoming for the man. Use what you have here as a jumping off point to come up with a truly fitting tribute for the man.
    I.A.C.O.J IRISH TATTOOED-HOOLIGAN

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    To say that a memorial that has been suggested is worthy for your situation could in fact be shortcoming for the man.
    I agree with MOTOWN 100%. You can't just "crackerbox" a memorial. You have to consider what that person held as important in their life. If you try to come up with a cookie cutter memorial, is it really going to truly memorialize that person?

    Gather the people closest to him/her, and just talk to them, listen to stories, maybe even tape record them. Assemble that with some pictures into a memorial book. Keep a copy at the station, and present one to the family. Don't forget to talk to this person as well. Nothing could serve as a better memorial than a tape recording of his thoughts and memories of his time with your department.

    Several years ago, a fire investigator's organization I belong to had a member that was in very poor health with emphysema. He was on continual oxygen, and had episodes that required he use a wheelchair to get around. They suggested that we establish an annual award after he passed as a memorial to recognize one investigator for their service. I suggested that we should establish the award immediately, and in his "honor", not in his "memory". That way he could be part of the award, and it made it that much more "his".

    We brought him to the annual seminar on an unknown (to him) pretense, and ultimately announced the award to the group with him as part of the announcement. This man was one of the gruffest, grittiest, and crustiest old sobs you would ever see, and one of the best investigators and interrogators I ever worked with. He saw some of the worst of the worst, yet never batted an eye. When the award was announced, his reaction was something I never expected, nor will ever forget. I'll only say that he truly saw this as an act of honor from his peers, and was very obviously touched, as were we all. It wasn't the award. It was the fact that his colleagues recognized him.

    He died about 6 months later. To a person, we were so glad that we took the course we did. This way, it truly was an award in his honor.

    You only get one shot at that. After they're gone, it's too late. Just a suggestion...take it for what it's worth. Good luck with whatever you decide.
    Steve Gallagher
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  13. #13
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    Unhappy Difficult, at Best.

    This is a hard area to deal with, for most of us. My Father died in 1997, a few months short of seeing me take over the Chief's job in our VFD, something that he had anticipated, with pride, for some years. I had been a Chief officer (Asst/Deputy) for 13 years already, but he had worked his way up and expected that his sons would too. (My older brother is a tough act to follow, and he made it to Asst. Chief, but his employment precluded his continuing on) Hard work, but quietly, behind the scenes, was my Fathers way of doing things, and everyone knew that. Today, we have an annual "Firefighter of the Year" Award in Dad's memory. This award recognizes an individual for getting the job done, with extra effort, in the manner that Dad did for so many years. Fitting? We think so.


    And, Bob, You are in our thoughts and prayers too.

    Stay Safe....
    Last edited by hwoods; 02-15-2004 at 12:11 PM.
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    we have had a few members pass away, we have a last alarm for them at the funeral home. We have not had a LODD. We have not had an active member die, they have been retirees that served well and some taught me lots. We do have proceedure (not in writing, as we always do what the family wishes some like us to do something and some do not)and we have sent our tower truck to other towns for services. As far a memorial goes we dont have anyhting like that and no departments in our area do either. And not to rehash anything ..........you deserved that comment from Gonz. Hope this helped and wish I could give you better input.
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    Thank you all for your responses. This is what I figured this forum could be. I thought I might have been wrong at first, but you have showed me my first thoughts were correct.

    A memorial might have been the wrong choice of words for what I was looking for but for lack of better terminology that's how I phrased it. It did get some great ideas though.

    Steamer, I liked the idea of the book with a copy at the station and one to the family. That's kind of what I had in mind, something along those lines that we could do for every firefighter. We are a rural/resort volunteer dept. and when our guys retire instead of a plaque or something similar, we replace his helmet with a new one. The old one then gets signed by everyone in the dept. with a paint marker along with a short comment if desired.

    Weruj1, you brought up a valid point that maybe the family doesn't want anything done and that is a good reminder to check with them before doing something they may not appreciate.

    Also....I already said I deserved the comment from Gonz....

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    You are dealing with a sad situation and have had good advice given so far. We started a memorial at our station for members who have died (after the fact of course). We ask the family for something small from the member that he was very fond of that he would relate to the fire dept. Some will give some won't byt we offer. We have pictures and other little trinkets. One of the families gave us the members maglight and had it inscribed with his name and service time to be put in the case.

    Of course once this is done you cannot forget that even though your member is gone that thir family is still part of yours. They appreciate coming by and helping out this brings them closer to the "other family". It is also a rememberance for you and thier family.

    Good Luck in however you handle this
    Les Hartford
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    LMR Fire Dept.

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    We have had a few active members die (none LODD) and have our own services for them. Same for those passing after retirement. Like Weruj said, some families do not want any FD services. Others will plan all of the services around the FD. It is a trying time for everyone, but it makes a world of difference to those families. We have a memorial in front of our station and evry year on the Sunday before Fire Prevention Week, we have a memorial service to remember all of our brothers and sisters who have passed before us. The memory book is a great idea.

    As for how to act and what to say to those who are terminally ill......... Don't act any different. Sometimes it is hard, but it's something that must be done. Joke and laugh with them as much as possible. My mother had cancer for 8 years prior to her passing when I was 21 years old at the age of 44. She didn't want us to treat her any differently. She wanted us to remember all of the good times and not remember her sickest. It was hard. I knew what to expect so it was a little easier, but it never gets easy. Cherish the time you do have with them and do your best to keep them happy and upbeat.

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    Lightbulb 2 cents...

    Sorry I didnt respond to your first posting.
    I think I was a little confused but I will
    try to help...

    -Get a bell and ring it 3 times at a funeral.

    -Have your dispatch center tone out a last
    call in honor of "Firefighter ___________."

    -Have a funeral percession with all the rigs
    behind the main truck with emergency lights
    on.

    -Have the personnel salute when the body passes
    at the church.

    -Have the black cloth cover the truck's lights.

    -Plant a tree in the person's honor at the
    station or a plaque (spelling?) planted at the
    front of the station.


    That is all I can think of now. I hope I was
    of some assistance...Bou

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    mtfd 102,
    this really ain't an easy issue.
    I'm sure that you guys learned from him due his experience.
    Remember the things he taught you, in the actions you take when the going gets tough.
    Let others know what he taught you, so they will learn too.
    Put his name up in the crewcabin or name a truck after him.
    But most of all, let him know what you think of him right now, now you can still talk to him.
    Never forget he is a FIREFIGHTER.
    Stay safe
    *The BOSS rules*

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    I had my partner for about a year and a half die in a car crash after leaving a shift here and going to his part-time medic job. His wife (of 2 weeks) hated the fire dept, but she had a full firefighter funeral. We retired his unit number and we mainly followed the firefighter funeral protocol (can be found at http://www.firehero.org/Index1.asp?BD=1508)
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    mtfd, ya can't go wrong with a golf tournament and a dinner/raffle afterwards. You could even go as far as to put on a silent auction. We do a golf tourney every year. The profits from the tournament go to the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, The National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, and the IAFF Memorial. We also use some of the donation monies to send members to the two major memorial services.
    Good Luck

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    our county association has a firefighter of the year award that is named after a firefighter that passed away a few years ago. our dept has in the past mounted the firefighter's badge on a plaque and gave it to the family.

    not really a tradition because we try to do something different for everyone.
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    Talk to some FD Chaplains, if you're so inclined. We have a few here that I'm sure would help you.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

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    A local dept. lost a great guy who I knew a few months ago...they are now having memorial T-shirts made up combining his interests (fire service, his love & support of animals, etc.) as well as having a scholarship created in his name. Think this is a great way to remember him...

    Another dept. I know had one of their members who had a terminal illness sign his name and they then had it laser etched into their 1st due engine. Seems this guy was very active & was that one guy we all have in every dept. who takes care of the rigs like they were his own...they thought it would be fitting that with this tribute, he would be with them on every run. Another nice touch....

    Lastly, my dept. had one of our explorers pass away suddenly from an asthma attack...we were devastated to say the least...no one should ever have to bury a 16 y/o kid...we decided since this kid was really dedicated & was always working extra hard to learn the ropes, we thought naming our training room after him would be fitting. We dedicated it in June of last year & it does make you think of him..I passed it the other day & thought of him...that and Lorna Doones
    (ya know, the cookies)..but that's a story for another time....

    I think the biggest thing to keep in mind is that you want to memorialize the person and what they did, what they were about, etc.
    not just do a generic memorial.

    As with all the other posts, I did not see your original post or
    I would have replied sooner myself. Hope my 2 cents helps you out. Good luck with this commendable project!! Stay Safe...

    P.S. - To Bob, good luck & stay strong brother...

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    We lead the funeral procession to the cemetary with Engine 1 and Engine 2, all of the fire department members ride on the Engines, tail board and hose bed. All emergnecy lights one and the Sirens full blast. Each member throws a handfull of dirt into the grave.

    We have a wall in the fire hall that has a long row of white helmets with the names of the past away members on them.

    When the deceased members PPE is passed onto a new member, often the initials and names and such are left in place. IE the name written on the inside brim of the helmet and such. If the name would cause confusion, it is removed. Boots are a good example. There is a new member that was issued a pair of boots belonging to a past away member, it has his name on the Rubber boot on the yellow stip mid calf.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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