Dallas Fire-Rescue honors promise to never forget
It is said by many that the firefighting profession is a calling. This saying gains significant credence when one considers the ability to put aside the natural instinct to flee danger, and instead, run towards it. In its history, Dallas Fire-Rescue has lost 70 men to LODD—an acronym no fire professional ever wants to see, signifying a line of duty death. From John Clark in 1902 to William Scott Tanksley in 2014, firefighters have answered the final bell with a long history of tradition, selflessness and sacrifice.
Behind every fire professional is a long line of family, friends, peers, fire retirees and grateful citizens left behind to carry on the legacy and never forget. Continued relationships with those family members left behind are of utmost importance to active firefighters and retirees, alike. From helping repair a broken garage door, replacing an unsafe deck, mowing a lawn, or even attending a children’s ballgame, members of Dallas Fire-Rescue community are never too busy to take care of those family members in need.
“Many times it is the simple things that mean the most to our fallen firefighter families,” said Elaine Maddox, Dallas Fire-Rescue Chaplain. “We walk alongside the families as they make the adjustments for a new life and stand ready to help them whenever needed.”
And on occasion, the needs of a family involve spanning the entire country. In 1995, a firefighter widow wanted her five children to know each of the firefighters who worked with her husband in 1964. Jumping into action, the fallen hero’s peers organized a reunion of 20 former station mates.
“We really try to develop a lasting relationship with the family based on the needs of the family,” said Maddox.
While firefighting technology has changed significantly over the last century, from buckets and horse-drawn steam pumpers to high-tech sensors and over 150 engines, trucks, boats and boosters at 58 stations supporting 1.4 million citizens over 385 square miles, the legacy of duty and valor is the same as when Firefighter John Clark gave his life 113 years ago. Protecting the City from fires and saving lives is hard, dangerous work with little fanfare. Firefighters are not motivated by the larger salaries or normal hours many would be afforded in another line of work. For most fire professionals, it’s about keeping the citizens safe when most needed.
“Dallas Fire-Rescue members are motivated to continue the watch as servants to the citizens of Dallas because of the difference they can make in the life of a person at possibly the most difficult time in their life,” said Maddox. “The ability to solve a problem and give hope to citizens in need provides a deep sense of satisfaction.”
And that sense of deep satisfaction still drives fire professionals whether in the fire station, at home off shift.
“It’s an honor to pay tribute to the families that we consider our own and for the active firefighters it demonstrates our commitment that will we never abandon our brothers and sisters,” said Maddox.
Dallas Fire-Rescue will hold a 2015 Memorial Service on October 24, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at 5000 Dolphin Road. This every five year event will honor fallen firefighters and their families. To learn more about Dallas Fire-Rescue and review their incredible history, visit: http://www.dallasfirerescue.com/