EMMITSBURG, Md. — They filled the PNC Sports Complex at Mount St. Mary’s University to the rafters---more than 500 firefighters and hundreds more friends and family members paying tribute to Battalion Chief Joshua Laird.
“Battalion Chief Josh Laird reported to work on Wednesday, August 11th, with the singular goal he had when he joined the fire service nearly 30 years ago---to help people in their time of need,” said Frederick County Fire & Rescue Chief Thomas E. Coe. “And at 4:48 that day when his final call came in, he responded calmly, courageously and without hesitation.”
A man whose zest for life ranged from rock music and golf to zany costumes and ghost and alien investigations, laird’s daughters showed their own form of bravery addressing those at the funeral during their darkest hour.
“He wanted to go to Scotland, because he was part Scottish, but way more than that, he wanted to be Mexican. I don’t know why,” said Erin Laird, the firefighter’s eldest daughter. “When he got tan, he tried to tell people that he was Mexican, and he was so happy one day when a woman tried to talk to him in Spanish.”
Governor Larry Hogan offered the family the appreciation of a grateful state, and more posthumous honors including a medal of honor would follow, but laird’s ultimate sacrifice may have been measured most memorably by the loved ones he leaves behind.
“I love my dad, and it’s not right to say ‘I loved him’, because I do love him,” said Madelyn Laird, the firefighter’s youngest daughter. “Thank you, everyone, for coming and I know it’s going to be hard, but we can do this all together.”
Throughout his two decades of service, Laird received a number of honors including the Silver Medal of Bravery for saving someone’s life.