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Fallen firefighters and paramedics honored for their bravery to protect others

Posted at 11:37 PM, Jun 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 08:07:46-04

On Sunday, 11 firefighters and paramedics who lost their lives in the line of duty were honored by the Maryland Fire-Rescue Services Memorial Foundation.

The MFRSMF is a non-profit organization with a mission to honor fire and rescue personnel who die in the line of duty serving Maryland’s citizens. The Foundation maintains the memorial and park located at 101 Calvert Street in Annapolis and each year, members are joined by firefighters, rescue personnel and families of the fallen to mount name placards along a brick memorial for eternity.

The fallen heroes honored on Sunday were the following:

Jan. 5, 2021: Nicholas C. Finamore, Allentown Road Volunteer Fire Department, Prince George’s County

Aug. 11, 2021: Joshua D. Laird, Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services, Frederick County

Sept. 29, 2021: Kelly William Frye, City of Cumberland Fire Department, Alleghany County

Dec. 5, 2021: Henry W. Eckhardt Jr., Reisterstown Volunteer Fire Company, Baltimore County

Jan. 5, 2021: Nicholas C. Finamore, Allentown Road Volunteer Fire Department, Prince George’s County

Jan. 20, 2022: Robert A. Jones, (Reese and Community Volunteer Fire Company, Carroll County

Jan. 24, 2022: Paul Butrim, Baltimore City Fire Department, Baltimore City

Jan. 24, 2022 Kelsey Sadler, Baltimore City Fire Department, Baltimore City

Jan. 24, 2022: Kenneth Lacayo, Baltimore City Fire Department, Baltimore City

Feb. 6, 2022: Wayne Fisher, Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Foundation, Harford County

Feb. 22, 2022: Janet H. Holbrook, Whiteford Volunteer Fire Company, Harford County

The ceremony honored each fallen hero by mounting their names on placards along a brick memorial wall. Those who have lost loved ones in the past also attended the ceremony as a show of support.

"We know our loved ones were drawn to and lived a life of service. We can find comfort knowing that they died as they lived. Memorials like this help serve as reminders for the family– that even in their death, we will continue to share them with the community they served," said Celeste Flynn. She is the widow of Howard County Fire Lieutenant Nathan Flynn, who died in 2018.

Baltimore County Fire Chief Joanne Rund also paid her respects and spoke about the importance of safety protocols for fire fighters, specifically with vacant building fires.

"A 2018 study from the National Fallen Fire Protection Association shows vacant building fires have a disproportionate impact on the health and safety of our personnel. The study showed the spread of vacant fires is almost three times greater than in other structure fires," said Rund.

In January of 2022, firefighters in Baltimore City responded to a three-story vacant row-home fire on South Stricker Street, where four crew members got trapped inside.

One firefighter was rescued, but Lieutenants Kelsey Sadler, Paul Butrim, and firefighter-paramedic Kenneth Lacayo were killed.

Lawmakers are making progress to ensure the safety of firefighters but Rund says more needs to be done.

"We applaud the state legislature for passing Senate bill 446 that helps keep our personnel safe and our peer counseling confidential for our peer support programs. But let's expand that success because mental health is a predominant thing in our culture. Let's work together to define the problem, research best practices, and establish protocols," said Rund.

For those who lost their loved ones in the line of duty, the nonprofit is offering support, and place for families to come and remember the bravery your loved one had.

"Be kind and patient with yourself. The place on the wall where your loved one is honored can now be apart of your community. Your loved ones will live on in your heart, and in the hearts of this larger family," said Flynn.