Belleville Firefighters remembered with Memorial Garden
The Intelligencer
 
More than 200 came out early Sunday morning to pay their respects and remember the local heroes who paid the ultimate price in their life-saving duty.
 
Held on a day when 343 New York Fire Department lost their lives during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Belleville unveiled a monument dedicated to it’s own 13 firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty.
 

“To the surviving family members of all of our fallen, as your Fire Chief and on behalf of your current and retired members of the Belleville Fire and Emergency Service today, we remember your loss,” said Belleville Fire Chief Monique Belair. “We share your sorrow, and we honour those family members whom you’ve loved and lost.”

The 13 firefighters remembered date as far back as 1929, and as early as 2019. Their names are, Fire Chief William Brown (1929), Captain Elmer Helm (1977), Captain William Lake (1978), Firefighter George Woodhouse (1986), Firefighter Glen Emerson (1989), Firefighter Rocque Davis (2000), Captain Thomas Nobles (2002), Captain Fred Ellis (2002), Firefighter Robert Davenport ( 2015), Fire Prevention Officer Will McDowell (2017), Firefighter Robert Laing (2019), Volunteer Deputy Elmer Middleton ( 1975), and Volunteer Firefighter Gerald Robertson (1985).

Speaking at the unveiling was Belleville Fire Captain John Lake lost his father, Fire Captain William Lake, in 1978 after he suffered two serious heart attacks. During his remarks, Cpt. Lake noted his wishes for a 14th name to never have to be added to the memorial.

“It’s comforting to know that these men will not be forgotten,” said Cpt. Lake. “I hope that the monument and garden serve as a reminder to all of our current and future firefighters to take every precaution to stay safe.”

The service neared its end with the readings of the names and a tolling bell for each firefighter. The bell represents a symbolic and time-honored fire service tradition and is done as a sign of honor and respect for all firefighters who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their communities.

Leading the group in the Firefighters Prayer was BFES Chaplain Pastor Robert Weisner who said,

“When I am called to duty, God wherever flames may rage, give me strength to save a life, whatever be its age. Help me to embrace a little child before it’s too late. Or save an older person from the horror of that fate. Enable me to be alert to hear the weakest shout and quickly and efficiently to put the fire out. I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me to guard my neighbor and protect their property. And if according to your will I have to lose my life, bless with your protecting hand, my loving family from strife. Amen.”

 

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