Rowan delegation to attend firefighters service in Md.
By Mark Wineka
In honor of lost Salisbury firefighters Vic Isler Sr. and Justin Monroe, a large delegation from Rowan County will attend the weekend activities surrounding the 28th Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service in Emmitsburg, Md.
Isler, 40, and Monroe, 19, died from smoke and heat exposure after becoming trapped during the Salisbury Millwork Co. fire March 7, 2008.
The national service will remember 98 men and 5 women from 36 states. A plaque with the names of these 103 firefighters, including Isler and Monroe, will be added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, which is located on the National Fire Academy campus in Emmitsburg.
North Carolina and Oregon suffered the nation’s greatest number of line-of-duty firefighter deaths in 2008 with nine in each state.
Salisbury Fire Chief Bob Parnell, Battalion Chiefs Chris Kepley and Jay Baker and about 35 Salisbury firefighters will be traveling to Emmitsburg, along with some of their spouses and children.
The Salisbury Fire Department participants will be leaving in a chartered bus Friday morning and come back Sunday night.
Justin Monroe’s parents, Eddie and Lisa Monroe, along with Justin’s stepbrother, Mark, are expected to attend. Isler’s wife, Tracy, and his children, Vic Jr. and Ryan-Ann, also will be attending.
Some members of the Miller’s Ferry Volunteer Fire Department also are making the trip. Monroe was a lieutenant with the volunteer department.
The Salisbury Fire Department members are paying their own lodging expenses.
Fire Department staff members only are receiving a stipend to offset the costs of meals, based on the federal travel meal/incident expense guide, city officials said.
To help with meal expenses, the Salisbury Fire Department Auxiliary will prepare sandwiches for the bus trip.
There are mandatory functions each of the three days in Emmitsburg that firefighters will be attending. For the various functions, the firemen will be wearing their Class A uniforms. Spouses also will be adhering to a particular dress code.
More than 5,000 people are expected to attend the National Memorial Service from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The crowd will include members of Congress and Obama administration officials.
Families receive flags flown over the U.S. Capitol and the National Memorial.
Honor guard units and fire service personnel from across the country participate in the national tribute.
In addition to Isler and Monroe, other North Carolinians who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2008 include:
– Firefighter James Earl Arthur, 19, of Cold Water Fire & Rescue died in a motor vehicle accident while responding to an accident scene Feb. 11, 2008.
– Fire Chief George Crocker, 32, of the Pine Level Volunteer Fire Department died within 24 hours of an emergency response June 22, 2008.
– Assistant District Forester Curtis Jessen, 32, of the N.C. Division of Forest Resources died after falling from a waterfall while fighting a wildland fire Aug. 21, 2008.
– Lt. Herman Jones, 58, of the Raleigh Fire Department died Jan. 23, 2008, after suffering a torn aorta following department fitness training and two medical calls Jan. 18, 2008.
– Firefighter Walter Michl, 76, of the Roanoke-Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department died of a heart attack while preparing to respond to a residential structure fire March 16, 2008.
– Firefighter Carol Taylor, 41, of the Goldsboro Fire Department died within 24 hours of responding to an electrical fire Nov. 15, 2008.
– Second Assistant Chief Colin Thomas, 52, of the Verona Volunteer Fire Department died after being struck by a vehicle in zero visibility conditions at a wildland fire June 14, 2008.
In addition, Forestry Technician Joshua Crisp, 26, also will be recognized, though his death occurred in 2006.
Crisp, a member of the U.S. Forest Service, Cheoah Ranger District, died in a motor vehicle accident while going to a non-emergency duty assignment March 15, 2006.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security sponsor the official national tribute Sunday.
The ceremony marks the beginning of National Fire Prevention Week designated by President Obama to focus national attention on the destruction of property and loss of life caused by fire.
Many fire departments across the country will conduct simultaneous services, lower flags to half-staff, sound sirens at noon and observe a moment of silent tribute.
Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to lead a nationwide effort to remember America’s fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the nonprofit foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor fallen fire heroes and assist their families and coworkers.