Firefighters remember their fallen, and a son remembers his father
By Anna Scott
"I wanted to be a hero like my father." -- Deputy Fire Chief Daryl Boardman
BEVERLY - Deputy Fire Chief Daryl Boardman was three years old when his father died while trying to save a priest's family from the burning rectory at the Church in the Cove.
So far as anyone can remember, Roger Boardman was the first Beverly firefighter to die in the line of duty. His name, followed by the date of his death in 1956, is the first of five engraved on the firefighters' memorial in Central Cemetery.
Yesterday, as North Shore communities joined with others around the nation to celebrate Firefighters Memorial Sunday, Boardman thought about the reason he became a firefighter: his dad.
"I grew up thinking all firemen were heroes," said Boardman, who will retire from the Beverly Fire Department next year after 25 years of service. "I wanted to be a hero like my father."
Firefighters dressed in full uniform with white gloves for yesterday's ceremony. "Amazing Grace" was played on bagpipes, and flowers were placed at the base of the memorial.
Similar ceremonies, followed by church services and breakfasts, were held in Salem, Peabody and Danvers. Across the nation, firefighters hold memorial services each year on the second Sunday in June.
In Beverly yesterday morning, the Rev. David Barnes of St. Mary's led a prayer asking to "remember those who gave their lives for the sake of others."
When Roger Boardman died, he left a pregnant wife just short of her 30th birthday, and three children.
"It's always a sad day out here for me," Daryl Boardman said. "You think of all the Little League games you played without a father, everything you did without a father. It's a void. You never get over it."
Rae Philpot of Beverly attended the service in place of her son Donald Philpot, who is a firefighter but is also in the military. He was not at yesterday's service because he is stationed in Cuba.
Her husband and two other relatives are members of the department. But being concerned for their lives is something she says she'll never get used to.
"You worry all the time," Rae Philpot said. "They don't have emergencies all the time, but there have enough of them so you're always worrying."
In Danvers yesterday, 50 active-duty and retired firefighters attended Mass at St. Richard's Church on Forest Street. The retired firefighters came from four states to attend the service, Danvers firefighter Michael Graves said.
After the service, the Firefighters' Relief Association held its annual brunch at headquarters on High Street. The association presented scholarships to high school seniors Shaina Conrad and Dana Perry, daughters of Capt. Douglas Conrad and Lt. Michael Perry.
And in Salem, firefighters met at Harmony Grove Cemetery and marched to the city's firefighters memorial. During the service, state Rep. J. Michael Ruane, D-Salem, was made an honorary member of the Salem Firefighters' Relief Association. Ruane, a longtime supporter of the Fire Department and honorary member of the local and state firefighters' unions, is not seeking re-election to his legislative seat.
"As this is his last year as a member of the Legislature, the firefighters wanted to make sure he was honored," said Jeff Brown, Salem Fire Department spokesman.
Staff writer Jill Harmacinski contributed this article
Staff writer Anna Scott can be reached at (978) 338-2664 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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06-14-2004, 12:48 PM #1
Jakes remeber thier own, son remembers his father.I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
06-14-2004, 03:22 PM #2
Happy Fathers Days to all the Fathers on the job.
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