Baltimore County MD - Baltimore County, MD Firefighter Jarrett Dixon, who died in the line of duty on Jan. 12, was remembered in moving services on Friday, Jan. 18 as a man who dedicated his life to serving the community and a hero who shied away from taking credit for helping others.
"As we gather today to reflect on Jarrett's life we remember the service he gave to the lives of others," said Father Edward Miller of St. Bernadine's Roman Catholic Church.
Hundreds of firefighters from Baltimore County and across the region packed the church to honor their fallen brother. "Jarrett's death makes no sense to us," Father Miller said. "It does not occur in a sense of overwhelming bravery. This morning we bring him back home to the place where his family has been coming week after week, year after year."
Dixon, a fire apparatus driver operator and paramedic assigned to BCoFD Station 5 in Halethorpe, experienced chest pains while performing physical fitness training at his firehouse. He was transported to St. Agnes Hospital. He was later transferred to a second hospital for a cardiac catheterization and was subsequently released. While at home, he suffered a seizure, followed by cardiac arrest while being transported to the hospital by Medic 465 of his volunteer station, Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Company.
Ironically, he was instrumental in encouraging BCoFD to pursue Fire Act grant funding for a department physical fitness program several years ago, recalled BCoFD Chief John Hohman. He reminded fellow emergency services personnel, Dixon's family and friends that the fallen hero "was very proud to be a member of our department."
Captain Ed Sipes, Dixon's supervising officer for the past year, remembered the fallen firefighter as a mentor to young firefighters, "always willing to help, even when he was off-duty."
"His untimely passing will leave a large loss for the members of the Baltimore County Fire Department," Sipes said.
Prior to the service, a long single-file line stretched out the front doors of the church, as firefighters in "dress blues" filed by Dixon's open casket to pay their respects. Following the service, firefighters lined Edmondson Avenue six deep on one side and four deep on the other, as his flag-draped casket was lifted aboard old BCoFD Engine 5, a 1951 Mack B pumper, for his final call.
Dixon was buried at Druid Ridge Cemetery in Pikesville. An American flag hanging from the bucket of Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company Tower 323 and the aerial of BCoFD Truck 8 graced the entrance of the cemetery.
Prior to serving with BCoFD, he was a campus police officer with the University of Maryland College Park,. He graduated in 1994 with a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Dixon had planned a brief career as a police officer and enrolled in law school, but he was bitten by the "firefighter bug" and joined LRVFC in June 1993.
He served in many capacities with LRVFC, including holding the rank of 1st Fire Lieutenant and a member of the Board of Directors. Dixon was one of the company's Top 10 fire (304 calls) and EMS (147 calls) responders in 1994. Dixon graduated from the Baltimore County Fire Academy in 1997, and served in many roles with the department, including firefighter, paramedic, engine driver, and fire academy instructor. During his career, Dixon worked at stations 1 (Towson), 2 (Pikesville), 5 (Halethorpe), 7 (Essex), 8 (Fullerton) and 18 (Randallstown).
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested a trust fund be set up for Gavin Dixon, his five year-old son. Donations should be made payable to State Farm Mutual Fund and mailed to State Farm Insurance, PO Box 87, Randallstown, MD 21133, Attn: Melinda Lathe. Please note "Gavin Dixon Trust Fund" on any donations.