The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Saluting Our Brave

Dessa Rodeffer Quill Publisher/Owner

June 13, 2018

Many fireman across our communities are planning a big fireworks celebration to insure we safely celebrate Independence Day.

To each fireman who serve us and help us celebrate, I want to say a big "thank you".

Seeing my friend Hal Jern complete his 50th year as a volunteer fireman is pretty over-whelming. I can't even imagine the number of hours he has racked up as a volunteer.

Every year he sends The Quill pictures and an article celebrating National Fire Prevention Week and always with plans to go to the school to show the students the fire truck and to teach them about getting away from a fire safely. He is one of our many volunteers who puts service to others before any thing else.

Thank you Hal for all those fire calls you have made, all the phone calls on behalf of the fire department, keeping trucks in top order and clean, making sure there is safe apparel for firemen, raising funds with cookouts and the like. And for always having time to share a story or two.

Our firemen are well trained which takes a lot of hours away from home, but it guarantees their safety as well as ours.

Two different times I have had to call the Stronghurst Fire Department and it is very humbling as well as frightening to see how quickly a fire can get out of control.

I had just picked up a special book I had purchased after 9-11 called "Brotherhood" put out by American Express whose offices was across from The American Trade Center, to loan to my friend whose husband and three of his brothers were all firemen in NYC during that awful time terrorists hit America. He is now on disability for COPD due to the fumes he inhaled on 9-11. Every fireman was called in that day and in their entire history 762 FDNY have been killed with over half (343) of them on 9-11.

There were 75 firehouses in which at least one member was killed. The FDNY also lost its department chief, first deputy commissioner, one of its marshals, one of its chaplains, as well as other administrative or specialty personnel.

Of the 2,977 victims killed in the September 11 attacks, 412 were emergency workers in New York City who responded to the World Trade Center. This included:

#1 Battalion chief witnessed American Airlines Flight 11 crash into the North Tower of the World Trade Center and radioed a multiple alarm incident. Over the course of three hours, 121 engine companies, 62 ladder companies and 27 fire officers were deployed to the scene. All off-duty firefighters were recalled-the first time in over 30 years.

In every emergency call, there is an unknown enemy and the possibility for injury or death, yet they serve, putting lives of others before themselves, and we are grateful.