RFB- 107 Fallen Firefighters remembered at the 2014 NFFF Memorial Weekend

Photo from NFFF

Photo from NFFF

This past weekend (October 10-12) the NFFF (National Fallen Firefighters Foundation) held it’s 33rd Annual Memorial Weekend.

This year, 107 names were added to the Memorial (98 from 2013 and 9 from previous years).

The weekend is not just about remembering and honoring our fallen, it’s also about taking care of and supporting their families… the SURVIVORS.

From the NFFF … “Families of fallen firefighters face a long and difficult journey. While the rest of the world moves on, family members must figure out how to live without their loved one. The Foundation offers a variety of programs and materials to help during this most difficult time.

Most importantly, we want you to know that you are not alone. There are others who understand your loss and honor your loved one’s memory” 

2014 Memorial Weekend Roll Of Honor

Photo from NFFF

Photo from NFFF

The families are introduced to many of the NFFF’s Fire Service Survivor Programs during Memorial Weekend as well as throughout the year. The Foundation offers…

Learn more about the Family Resources provided through the NFFF by clicking HERE

 Memorial Weekend is full of Ceremonies, Services, Programs and Events beginning Thursday with the placing of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington.  There are dinners for both the new and returning survivors, Flag presentations, a Red Helmet Motorcycle Ride, work shops, a Candlelight Service and much, much more. You can watch some of the highlights from the 2014 Memorial Weekend in the video below …

1794534_796788443721475_7042507139733810318_nIt was an HONOR for Rhett (The FireCritic) and I to once again be part of Memorial Weekend. For the 2nd year in a row, Rhett led the Social Media Team while I worked along side Dave Statter and the Production crew.

It takes over 1,000 volunteers and months of planning to make Memorial Weekend happen.

As only the Fire Service can do, we utilize the Incident Management System to keep everything organized and running smoothly.

Raleigh (NC) Fire Chief John McGrath once again served as Incident Commander and I must confess as to how awe inspiring it is to see such a large scale operation run according to plan. I’ll also say what an HONOR it was (is) to work under Chief McGrath and along side each and every member there.

Chief John McGrath and Captain Willie Wines Jr of Ironfiremen com during 2013 NFFF Memorial WeekendIf you know someone who volunteers at Memorial Weekend, either in Logistics, Transportation, as a Family Escort, the Honor Gaurd, Pipes and Drums, Social Media, Production, Security, Family Service or where ever ….you should  THANK THEM!

I can guarantee you that these members worked tirelessly, on behalf of the entire Fire Service; to assure that everything was done and in place to make the Weekend all about the families … the SURVIVORS.

I’ll add here too, that if you’ve never attended Memorial Weekend … YOU SHOULD! You don’t have to work or volunteer, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS ATTEND! You’d be amazed at the difference it makes to the families.

10624999_776858639036961_5748770403616157115_n (1)The local hotels usually fill up quickly (as there are used for the surviving families) but there are plenty of other options.

Rhett and I pulled the Camper up again this year. In 2013, we stayed on the property of the Emmitsburg Rescue Squad. This year, we elected to stay in a campground, located just minutes away from the Memorial; in Gettysburg… YES.. THAT Gettysburg.

Andrew Catron (Model City Firefighter), T.J Giles (Oak Ridge Tenn) and Tim McCloskey (Kentland) were able to join us this year. If you can’t find a hotel or don’t have a tent, camper or place to stay, we’ll make room or find you a place! (If you’re a volunteer for the Weekend … say like for the Honor Gaurd, the NFFF usually provides housing on campus of the National Fire Academy provided you sign up and pass the requirements / background checks).

Conway pipes and drumsWe worked hard most of the day but got to take a little time off in the evenings.

Typically, we’d head out somewhere close for dinner, to the OTT House in downtown Emmitsburg for drinks or just back to the camper to relax by the camp fire.

That’s another part of Memorial Weekend that we enjoy so much…. getting out and meeting the Brothers and Sisters working alongside us.

Take for example the Brothers pictured left from the Conway Pipes and Drums (AR.). They have an AWESOME story. To make it short, they attended a few years back and seen the Pipes and Drums for the first time. They vowed then to learn to play, form a band and one day, play during the Memorial Weekend. THIS WAS THAT WEEKEND!!! Talk about Tradition, Pride, Honor and Respect… these Brother GET IT!

Again I’ll say that Memorial Weekend is NOT about us but about the Families (survivors). There’s noway I can show or tell you about everything that goes on or happens over Memorial Weekend or mention everyone who took part, but trust me…. this is one event you don’t want to miss again. To close, I’ll share a few links to posts from Rhett and Andrew sharing their take on the Weekend as well as one of the Tribute Videos (from Survivors)

2014 NFFF Memorial Weekend. 107 Firefighters Added to the Memorial

 NFFF Memorial Weekend: Honoring Our Heroes

Stay SAFE and in House …. RFB (Remember Fallen Brothers)

Captain Wines