Mementos Grace Trees for Fallen Responders

Mementos Grace Trees for Fallen Responders

News Dec 24, 2012


EMMITSBURG, MD – The lighting of a Christmas tree drew both applause and tears Thursday night.

It wasn’t just another tree. This one is in memory of the nation’s firefighters who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving their communities.

The tree beside the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial Chapel greets visitors to the National Fire Academy.

Three trees in the sanctuary are adorned with handmade ornaments and items honoring the fallen heroes.

Some photos are on colorful construction paper stars complete with personal messages, while balls contain the names of heroes and their departments. There are family collages of happy moments.

There are bells, fire trucks and love notes.

Jane Neville pointed to the trees: “Every ornament represents a loved one who has been lost.”

Neville’s son, Brian, 32, was a Baltimore County paramedic/firefighter, who was found dead in his station in 2008.

She said her son, like the others, “died doing what they absolutely loved to do.”

Continue Reading

Neville said it’s comforting to know that her son “is honored every day on this beautiful campus.”

She praised the staff of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation not only for handling the ornaments with the utmost care, but for the never-ending support.

In a later interview Neville said her son’s family that includes three children, 9, 8 and 4 are doing well. “The youngest doesn’t remember him. She says if firemen carry ladders why doesn’t he put one up and climb down from heaven?”

Neville was one of several survivors who attended the ceremony.

Dawn Ruane and her daughter, Ashley, made the trip back to Emmitsburg a little over two months after Roselle, N.J. Capt. Jon Young was honored.

“We were supposed to marry this past summer,” Dawn said, turning her head toward the tree where her love note to Young hangs.

Ruane said while the Christmas season is difficult, the camaraderie of other survivors has meant the world to her and her daughter. “They have been a godsend to us.”

The New Jersey responder remains active in urban search and rescue, a mission the couple shared.

Doris Neilson, whose husband, Peter, died of a heart attack in 2007 following a call in Kenockee Township, MI, said she thinks adorning the trees with personal ornaments is a nice gesture. “I’m very glad to be here to see this.”

After the Christmas season, the NFFF staff will gingerly pack those personal ornaments, handmade stars, notes and pictures.

NFFF Chief of Staff Linda Hurley said she was pleased with the number of students and staff who attended the ceremony.

Throughout the season, many will venture into the chapel and spend a few minutes to read the messages and view the pictures of fallen heroes.


Avaya plans to honor the Texas Commission as it sees the adoption of Kari’s Law build across the country, a law which would mandate any company or organization with multi-line telephone systems to provide direct-dial access to 9-1-1.
The company achieves a milestone of its first U.S. regulatory filing for a medical device which would aid in hemostasis and wound care.
Senators will have to vote on multiple amendments on the health care repeal bill.
County commissioners decided to write off over $5 million in uncollectible ambulance bills owed by residents, an amount that has been building since the 1940s.
The amount of deaths caused by substance abuse and mental health issues in the first half of 2017 have surpassed the total deaths of 2016.

The raging wildfires have forced 10,000 residents to evacuate their homes. 

For the first time in my EMS career, I froze.
The two agencies compete for ticket votes from blood donors to raise awareness for the increased need for blood during the summer.
Los Angeles firefighters and law enforcement are "resource rich" in nuclear threat preparation, like specialized trucks with advanced sensors for radiation levels, says the emergency operations commander.

Lee County, Fla. EMS will soon have its own substation in North Fort Myers. Chiefs for the North Fort Myers Fire District and Lee County EMS said it was time for a change because of overcrowding. 

EMS professionals are all taught to look for a MedicAlert bracelet or a necklace. This simple step has become much more complex in the information age, and we may not realize for what and where to look.
The drill involving over 200 people put multiple first responder agencies to the test.
The training was based on lessons learned from the Columbine shooting and taught school employees safety and security measures.
One third of the state's record-high 376 overdose deaths that occurred last year were caused by prescribed painkillers.
The training will be focused on prescribing buprenorphine, the drug used to assist patients in quitting their opiate addiction and relieve withdrawal symptoms.