The second Sunday of June is set aside to memorialize our nation’s fallen firefighters. In 2011, 22% people killed in the workplace were firefighters.
This past weekend, the marked this occasion with its second annual “Retiree Dinner” Saturday evening, followed by its the next morning.
As Stoughton Fire Chief addressed those gathered at Fire Station 2 this past Sunday, June 9, he noted that there were many “past, present and hopefully future firefighters” among the crowd.
Mallory Breen, daughter of SFD Captain Scott Breen, sang the National Anthem.
From the opening prayer delivered by Retired Chief Paul Roach to Selectman Cynthia Walsh reminding current firefighters “you never know whose little hearts you are effecting”, the theme of past, present and future firefighters remained a common thread throughout the ceremony.
Dolloff later described Firefighter Sunday as “a day I personally reflect on memories of the department, not just those of the deceased...I feel blessed to have worked and continue to work with such a group of diverse firefighters.”
Dolloff told the crowd about a conversation he had with SFD Captain Bob O'Donnell, discussing the fact that both "grew up on the department."
Speaking of some of the high points and low points over the course of the last couple of decades, the Chief said "how lucky [members of the SFD are] to face these challenges with such a dedicated group."
Dolloff then honored four long-time dedicated members of the department for reaching a career milestone. Captain Donald Jasmin, Captain James Bertram and Firefighter Jeff Ledin each received 25 years of service pins. Leon Silva, who was unable to attend, was acknowledged for his 30 years of service.
Many state and town officials shared their support and gratitude for the work of Stoughton’s firefighters, including Interim Town Manager Joseph Feaster; Chairman of the Board of Selectmen John Stagnone; Walsh, the Vice Chair of the Board; Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey, as well as Ted Philips from State Representative Lou Kafka’s office.
Lieutenant James Curtin, the union president, expressed his appreciation for for the reinstatement of three firefighters (that had been cut in prior years). He went on to discuss a 1996 study that called for 13 men per shift, with 1500 less runs than are handled in the current year.
“We want to thank you for what you have done but want you to know that we have more work to do. We need to fight together...fight for our firefighters who fight with their heads and their hearts everyday,” he said.
Prior to reading the list of 46 fallen firefighters, Firefighter Jeff Ledin said, “It is an honor and a privilege to read to you the roll call of our deceased firefighters.”
As Firefighter Jack Hussey (named Stoughton's ), rang the bell for each name read, Ledin became visibly moved, placing his hand on his heart, as he announced . Ledin worked with Melendy the night of his last call in 1995.
Upon completing the roll call, the flag was lowered by Firefighters Tim Guillotte and Ryan Cabral, and the ceremonial wreath was placed by Fire Inspector Greg Bourget and Tim Carroll.
Concluding with Lt. Curtin’s reading of the Firefighters Prayer, the attendees were then invited to stay for refreshments donated by owner Gary Lewis.
Photos in the media gallery by Stoughton Patch editor Jeffrey Pickette. Pickette also contributed reporting.