Guided by training while overcoming fear, they dare to go with only Guardian Angels near.
Centre Fire Chief Kevin Ware shared these lines from the poem When Brave Men Cry during the recent ceremony commemorating the 11th Anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 when terrorists struck on American soil
“Through the smoke and heat and gases too, they fight their fears when looking for you,” Ware continue. “A life to save is their primary task, pray for them is all they ask.”
“The Maltese Cross is their chosen crest, love of another is a required test,” read Ware. “First to respond when all spells gloom, they won’t quit when it could mean their doom.”
“These firefighters have seen so much, burned and broken bodies, death, destruction and such,” Ware read.
“They come back for more each and every day because it is the lives they save that makes them stay,”
“All for one and one for all, you go, I go, that is their call.”
“And in their quest, with some do fall. The rest stand strong still giving their all,” Ware read.
“The loss of a family member takes its toll,” read Ware. “It cuts to the quick down deep in your soul.”
“Tears forever when they die and that is when brave men cry.”
Rick Bibb with the Centre Fire Department reads A Firefighters Life.
-“A firefighter’s life is one big surprise, usually we laugh but sometimes we cry,
-There’s always stress, toil and strife, hoping we are good enough to save just one life.
-Our families understand when we miss dinner; if we run out of church, don’t think we are a sinner,
-Answering a call is tops on our list, regretting each one we have ever missed.
-We try and we try but we can’t make you see the happiest of people still work for free.
-Jumping from bed, fighting the cold, knowing what to do without being told.
-We rush to the station and jump on the truck depending on skill, never on luck.
-Putting our lives on the line for an unknown friend, hoping and praying it won’t be the end.
-The bravest in the world, the title is fitting, We all do our best, never thinking of quitting.
-It is a hard job, show us you care, please help us out by saying a prayer.”
“In the early days of firefighting, the old steamer fire engine used a bell to alert people of their approach and to clear the way for other firefighters arriving on the scene,” Ware explained.
“The bell ringer could also ring out a code that other firefighters could understand,”
“There would be a code to turn on the hydrant, evacuate a collapsing building,” said Ware
“Code 555 would be rung to let firefighters know that it was time to return home to the fire station,” said Ware.
“Through the years, thousands of firefighters have lost their lives while performing one of the world’s most dangerous jobs,” said Ware. “On Sept. 11, 2001, 343 of our firefighting brothers and sisters perished in the attacks on the World Trade Center.”
“Tragedy not only hits far from home, it happens right here in Cherokee and Dekalb Counties,” said Ware. “On April 6, 2002, Cherokee County lost its first firefighter in the line of duty when Retired Chief Billy John Tucker of Broomtown Volunteer Fire Department lost his life when he was struck by a car while directing traffic at an accident scene.”
“Our brothers and sisters at the Crossville Fire Department also suffered a tragic loss on Oct. 29, 2008,” said Ware. “While searching a burning house for a possible trapped occupant, Firefighter Adam Cody Renfroe perished when he was overtaken by the growing fire.”
“Over just the past year our county has lost five our firefighting brothers,” said Ware. “They are Founding Member John Anthony of the Ellisville Fire Department, Founding Member Paul Joyce of the Spring Garden Volunteer Fire Department. Assistant Chief Charles E. Laney of the Centre Fire Department, Lifetime Firefighter Steve Pope of the Spring Garden Volunteer Fire Department and Lifetime Firefighter and Instructor Paul Savage III of the Spring Garden Fire Department.”
“May we remember all who paid the ultimate price for this chosen profession and those who have served and gone on to be with our Heavenly Chief.”
Ware then read The Final Bell as follows:
-“Now rest my fallen brothers, place all your suffering back
-Rest well and forever, your memory shall not lack.
-Rest your tired hands, wipe clean your weary brow,
-Rest with our Lord and Savior your spirit now endowed.
-Rest here your breaking heart, we know you gave your all,
-Rest easy you’ve done your part, you’ve answered your last call.
-Rest knowing that in God we sought while fighting earthly Hell,
-Rest assured your troubled thoughts as we ring the final bell.”
The Rev. Wendell Dutton, director of missions, Cherokee Baptist Association, closed in prayer.