A good send off

Thursday, I attended the funeral of Fire Department Paramedic Joshua Weissman. Josh worked for the Alexandria (Va) Fire Department.

The service was very well attended and I was honored to have been able to pay my respects. I say it that way because that’s what it is … paying respect.

Read my previous post HERE


Fire Critic says “Go to the funeral… you OWE it to them”  

Rhett was out of town and unable to attend but I didn’t have to travel alone. Actually, I had a substitute driver step up. I ended up riding with brother Mike Elston from Salem Fire/EMS. Mike was going to pay his respects plus, he plays with the Pipes and Drums.

We also had rookie firefighter A. Murray tag along. Murray is a rookie in my Department and works at Station #1B. He is just a little over 6 months out of the Academy (he graduated with my rookie Randy). I was glad he tagged along. He later told me it was one of the most rememberable experiences he’s had since being on the job. This was his 1st LODD (Line Of Duty Death) funeral.

I think it’s important for younger members to attend these funerals (any and all members for that matter).

For one thing, I think it may result in something positive if it opens their eyes to the dangers of our job. Maybe they will realize that the “it will never happen here” mentality doesn’t apply where they work.

It also teaches them about what Rhett and I so often preach.. Honor, Respect, Pride, Tradition and Brotherhood.

The members who attended this service stood out in the cold and rain for about 4 hours. We were all soaking wet and cold but I never heard one member complain.

We attend these services for the survivors. The fallen are already in a better place. You attend for the family. The wives (or husbands), children , parents etc as well as for their extended family…. the Brothers and Sisters of their Department. You attend to let them know (and see) that they are not alone, their grief is shared and their support system endless.

I think the Weissman family as well as the Alexandria Fire Department has seen that over the last week.

More coverage and VIDEO from the Service by clicking HERE

After the services, there was a gathering at a local hotel for attendees. There was plenty of food as well as hot and cold beverages. This event was hosted by Chief ADAM K. THIEL and the Alexandria Fire Department.

I have had the honor of meeting Chief Thiel on several occasions. He is obviously a good Chief. It’s also obvious that his members are a top priority. Every member of the Department received 3 days off following Brother Weissman’s death. I believe Arlington and a few other surrounding Departments stepped up to cover …WELL DONE BROTHERS!

Immediately following the gathering at the hotel, The Northern Virginia F.O.O.L.S hosted a wake at Murphy’s Pub.

These type events are more for the members. It’s a time and place to relieve some stress and say a final farewell to the fallen. Like the service, this event was very well attended and Brother Weissman had a very good send off.

The toast was made to Brother Weissman’s memory following the family’s arrival. With a slide show of photos displayed behind the stage, the entire event was very emotional and I was honored to attend. I met members from as close as DC and as far away as New York. Again, this is part of what the Brotherhood is all about!

Learn more about the Northern Virginia F.O.O.L.S 

Sadly, there was a 2nd Line Of Duty Death here in Virginia this week.

Firefighter Zachary Whitacre of the Gore Vol. Fire and Rescue Department (Frederick County, Va) was laid to rest in Winchester, Va today.

I was not able to attend the service today as I am on duty. Rhett is still out of town visiting family so I’m covering his shift.

I was there in spirit / thought and my Department represented us well.

Our Honor Guard was in attendance and had the honor of folding the flag.

I have received several calls, e-mails and texts telling me what a great job our members did. I understand that  attendance  for the service was very good and the weather much better than that on Thursday.


Photo By Brother John Crist

Our  Honor Guard members in attendance were Lt Rob Reid, Firefighter Travis Meador, Firefighter Carlie Walshe, Firefighter Anuszkiewicz, Firefighter Richard Lipes and Firefighter Todd Reighley.

Special thanks to of Chief and Department for allowing our members to participate. The team would also like to extend a very special THANKS to Retired Chief Steve Poff  of  Roanoke County Fire / Rescue for his actions.

All indications are that Brother Whitacre had a good send off as well.

Please continue to keep Brothers Weissman and Whitacre,  their families and Departments  in your thoughts and prayers as they have a lot of healing yet to do. Thanks to each and every member who were able to attend either of the services. I can tell you that the family noticed and your presence made a difference. I’ll give ya a little update tomorrow and add a few pics from Murphy’s as well as my tour covering for Rhett today.

Until then, Stay SAFE and in House!

Captain Wines