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Honoring Maryland's fallen heroes

Annual ceremony returns at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens
Posted at 4:10 PM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 23:17:05-04

TIMONIUM, Md. — A giant American flag met those arriving at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens for the service, which typically draws a crowd of 1500 people, but was limited to families and honor guards due to the pandemic.

A pandemic, which cost 67-year-old Taneytown Volunteer Fire Paramedic Jeff Schaffer his life after he contracted COVID while serving on the front lines.

“Even just growing up. He would be in the kitchen eating. He would jump up and run out to a call. I would sometimes go on calls with him,” said Chris Schaffer, the paramedic’s son. “There was no give up with him. He knew, even with this stuff going on, people still needed help.”

Along with Schaffer, Montgomery County Police Officer Kyle Olinger, Greenbelt Police Corporal Christine Peters, Libertytown Firefighter Mike Powers and North East Fire Assistant Engineer Otis Isaacs, Junior were honored, along with a pair of heroes of our past---Baltimore City Police Officer Milton Spell who died in 1974 and Annapolis Firefighter Alexander Johnson who passed in 1958.

“For decades, this memorial has stood to remind us all of the sacrifice our officers and first responders make,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “They were and they still very much are our heroes.”

And very much deserving of the honor and respect, which comes with sacrificing their lives in the service of others.

“Just to remember these people in everything that you do. They’re dedicating their lives, literally sometimes, to come out and save somebody,” said Schaffer. “They go to school sometimes for this. It’s sacrifice for everybody for them to do what they do and just cherish that and appreciate the people who are around.”

As is tradition, Governor Larry Hogan proclaimed this Fallen Heroes Day and order flags at the State House and all state facilities be flown at half-staff.