Missouri’s fire service will hold two memorial services this weekend at the Fire Fighters Memorial of Missouri in Kingdom City to honor the state’s fallen firefighters.
A press release says a candlelight vigil is scheduled to be held for all Missouri firefighters who have died while serving their communities at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 9.
At 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 10, the names of eight Missouri firefighters who died in the line of duty will be added to the monument wall commemorating Missouri firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice while bravely serving their fellow Missourians. Six of the firefighters died in 2020, one in 2019 and a historical firefighter death from 1971 also will be recognized. Other Missouri firefighters who passed away will also be remembered during the ceremonies.
Governor Mike Parson has proclaimed October 10 as Fire Service Memorial Day in Missouri.
“Missouri’s firefighters willingly, without hesitation, run to danger to save lives,” Governor Parson said. “We are grateful for all that the brave men and women of the fire service do each day to protect their fellow Missourians and make our communities safer. Each generation produces heroic public servants, and we remember and honor them all.”
“The fire service is more than a career, it’s a calling that draws committed public servants willing to sacrifice in order to protect neighbors, and even lay down their lives to save strangers,” State Fire Marshal Tim Bean said. “These annual memorial services are moving events that bring together Missouri’s fire service community to remember those we lost and to be inspired by the lives they lived.”
Both events will take place at the Fire Fighters Memorial of Missouri, which is located one block northwest of the I-70 & U.S. Highway 54 intersection (I-70 Exit 148) in Kingdom City. In the event of inclement weather, events will be moved to Auxvasse Elementary School at 650 East Harrison Street in Auxvasse.
The Missouri Fire Fighters Memorial Foundation Board has approved these additions to the Wall of Honor:
· Firefighter Raymond Dydell, age 31, West Platte Fire Protection District, February 20, 1971
Volunteer Firefighter Dydell collapsed and died of a heart attack while fighting a house fire Weston.
· Captain Jerry Drew Bayton, age 54, Kansas City Fire Department, August 23, 2019
Captain Bayton was a veteran of more than 25-years with the Kansas City Fire Department. He died on August 23, 2019, after a long battle with multiple myeloma cancer, with presumptive occupational cancer being recognized as the cause of death by the Missouri Fire Fighters Memorial Foundation Board.
· Firefighter-Paramedic Charles McCormick, age 30, West Peculiar Fire Protection District, January 5, 2020
Firefighter-Paramedic McCormick was a five-year veteran of the fire service, who had earlier served three years in the Missouri National Guard. He was among the firefighters who responded to a residential fire in Peculiar on January 5, 2020, and died in the line of duty when he fell through a collapsed floor while fighting the blaze.
· Captain Christopher H. Francis, age 52, Mehlville Fire Protection District, April 2, 2020
Captain Francis began his service with the Mehlville Fire Protection District on October 27, 1995. He died on April 2, 2020, with presumptive occupational cancer being recognized as the cause of death by the Missouri Fire Fighters Memorial Foundation Board.
· Engineer Craig Shormas, age 59, Monarch Fire Protection District, April 21, 2020
Engineer Shormas served 12 years with the Maryland Height Fire Protection District, followed by 19 years with the Monarch Fire Protection District. He died on April 21, 2020, with presumptive occupational cancer recognized as the cause of death by the Missouri Fire Fighters Memorial Foundation Board.
· Firefighter-Hazmat Tech David F. Jameson, Jr., age 52, Independence Fire Department, May 7, 2020
Firefighter Jameson, a 23-year member of the Independence Fire Department, was among the firefighters who responded to a reported house fire on May 7, 2020. He died that day following a medical emergency.
· Lieutenant Ronald W. Wehlage, Jr., age 40, De Soto Rural Fire Protection District, June 30, 2020
Lieutenant Wehlage, a 21-year veteran of the fire service, with 17 years at the De Soto district, was among the firefighters who responded to a reported structure fire on June 28, 2020. He died on June 30, 2020, following a medical emergency.
· Captain Robert Rocha, age 60, Kansas City Fire Department, November 21, 2020
Captain Rocha, a 29-year member of the Kansas City Fire Department, died after a valiant fight against COVID-19 following exposure to coronavirus in the line of duty.
The service will also recognize three firefighters who died in the line of duty during 2019 who were honored in 2020 during a virtual ceremony because of the coronavirus pandemic:
· Captain Travis Owens, age 51, St. Joseph Fire Department, March 28, 2019
Captain Owens died in the line of duty after a long battle with occupational cancer. Owens was a 27-year veteran of the St. Joseph Fire Department. He was also an EMT and worked on ambulances for 10 years. He had served the nation for four years on active duty in the U.S. Army and 11 years in the U.S. Army Reserve.
· Firefighter-Paramedic Christopher R. Moore, age 42, Maryland Heights Fire Protection District, June 8, 2019
Firefighter-Paramedic Moore died after suffering a medical emergency while on duty in service to the people of Missouri on June 6. Moore was a 17-year veteran of the fire district and had previously served as a member of the Eureka Fire Protection District and the Metro West Fire Protection District.
· Chief J. Allyn Reding, age 63, Duenweg Volunteer Fire Department, July 5, 2019
Chief Reding and other members of the department responded to a mutual-aid call for a structure fire. A few hours after returning from the call Chief Reding collapsed at his residence from a heart attack. He had joined the Duenweg department as a 14-year-old junior firefighter and served for a total of 49 years.