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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Firefighters Honor Fallen Heroes by Working

Members of the Fire/EMS Department particpating at the NFFF Memorial Weekend in Emmitsburg, MD

Members of the Fire/EMS Department particpating at the NFFF Memorial Weekend in Emmitsburg, MD

Tomy Baker, Life-Member of the Branchville Volunteer Fire Department and the Maryland Chapter of the Red Knights Motorycycle Club, has played a role in coordinating support for many events.

For the past several years, many volunteer, career and civilian members of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department have assisted and supported many groups with their events such as the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) Memorial Weekend, Toys for Tots and Wreaths Across America. This year has been no different and support for these efforts are growing throughout the ranks.

There are many, yet one overwhelming, reasons for the Prince George’s County support for the NFFF. One is an allegiance to the NFFF Executive Director, Ron Siarnicki, a retired PGFD Fire Chief; however, overwhelming support for the weekend observance is to honor the firefighters that lost their lives in the line of duty and support surviving family members.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Fire Administration held the 28th annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend on October 2-4, 2009. A plaque with the names of 103 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2008 was added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, located on the National Fire Academy campus in Emmitsburg, MD. Thousands attend the weekend activities with planning, management and execution being a tremendous duty that requires a incredible effort on the part of organizers.

Battalion Chief Gary L. Krichbaum participates in the Command/Operations aspect of the weekend and encourages other members to become involved and attend the memorial events along with thousands of firefighters and surviving family members from across the Country. He stated, “This really is an amazing event for the Fire Service.” Any member that is interested in helping or attending in next years weekend should contact Battalion Chief Krichbaum as planning is already underway.

In addition to Battalion Chief Krichbaum, these are just some of the other members of the Department that were involved in critical aspects of event planning and execution:

Lieutenant Richard Patterson - Logistics Division
Teresa Ann Crisman - Logistics support
Terry Lloyd - Logistics & contingency planning
Jeff Dickey - Operations support
Tim Daly - Logistics support
Robert Small - Apparatus and Flags
Tomy Baker – Red Knights - Red Helmet Motorcycle Ride

Additionally, on the day before the NFFF Memorial Weekend, Thursday, October 1, 2009, a wreath laying ceremony was held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Fire/EMS Department Honor Guard members from across the country participated in this tribute leading up to the 2009 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend.

Members of the Fire/EMS Department will once again provide assistance to another group that honors our fallen heroes - those laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Tomy Baker, coordinator and life-member of the Branchville Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc. and members of the Fire/EMS Department, Red Knights Motorcycle Club and law enforcement agencies will welcome the group WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA on the day before they lay wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery. The Wreaths Across America group has parked their tractor trailers and support vehicles at the Branchville Volunteer Fire Department in College Park, MD, which is the next to last stop after a long journey. Members of the Fire Department and the Red Knights Motorcycle Club, MD 1 Chapter, greet the members and wash and prepare their vehicles for the escort to Arlington National Cemetery early the next morning. The procession of vehicles will depart the firehouse with escorts from the Red Knights and law enforcement agencies to their destination.

The MD 1 Red Knights is a club for members of the fire service, and their families, who enjoy riding motorcycles. Membership is open to ALL firefighters, active or retired, volunteer, or industrial, who have access to a motorcycle and hold a valid motorcycle drivers license.

Law Enforcement agencies assisting in the procession to Arlington include Laurel, Mount Rainier, Hyattsville, Riverdale Park, and Bladensburg.

WHAT: Wreaths Across America – Welcome to Prince George’s County, vehicle preparation and start of procession to Arlington National Cemetery.

WHEN: Arrival into Prince George’s County – Friday, December 11, 2009, 1:00PM to 2:00 PM estimated time of arrival.

Departure to Arlington National Cemetery – Saturday, December 12, 2009
6:30 AM

WHERE: Branchville Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc.
4905 Branchville Road, College Park, MD
University Blvd/Greenbelt Road/Rhode Island Avenue intersection.