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Ceremony pays tribute to first responders

Ceremony pays tribute to first responders

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Three dozen men and women – all giving a large portion of their lives to public service – were remembered Saturday at a memorial service.

A candle was lit for each of the 36 people – firefighters, paramedics, law enforcement officers – who passed away since 2015.

The memorial service, held at Hebron Baptist Church, was organized by junior firefighters with Harmony Fire Department, and those young men and women played a role in the ceremony. As each name was called, a junior firefighter escorted a family member or colleague to the front of the church to light a candle and then receive a frame containing a placard with the person’s name, affiliation and a logo from that organization. Each was also handed a single red rose.

Annette Redmond, widow of David Marshall Redmond, said she was impressed with the ceremony. “I thought it was very nice, very respectful,” she said.

Retired paramedic and currently a part-time employee at the North Iredell Rescue Squad Steve Wooten used a phrase equated with military service to describe those who were being honored.

“All gave some, some gave all,” Wooten said, applies to those who go into the emergency services field as well.

He said they gave of their time, their talents and themselves for one simple reason – to help their community.

Wooten said it doesn’t matter whether they are paid or volunteer, the commitment is the same.That commitment, he said, has to be there. “It’s got to be there or you’re not going to be there very long,” he said.

Bill Suthard, operations manager of the communications division of the Charlotte Fire Department, said ceremonies like the one Saturday are vital to the first-responder community and their loved ones. “We want to make sure they’re never forgotten,” he said.

Suthard, who has been involved in a program to support the families of fallen first responders, said that is the message he conveys any time he responds to help a family deal with the aftermath of a loss. And, he said, that support extends beyond the immediate family to the first responder’s other family – their brothers and sisters in whatever service for which they are a part.

One of the ways he and others remember their fallen brothers and sisters is to take part in a bicycle ride to the locations where a first responder lived or died. This year, he said, the ride will start in Windsor and travel into South Carolina before ending in Burnsville.

“We want them to know we never forget their sacrifice,” he said

Those honored:

Iredell County Rescue Squad:

Harvey McHargue Jr.

William McLain Sherrill Sr.

North Iredell Rescue Squad

Pat Painter

Hal (Junior) Dobson Jr.

David Marshall Redmond

Iredell County Emergency Medical Services

Phyllis Watson

Craig Arrowood

Jeff Carter

Iredell County Sheriff’s Office

Sam Counts

Norman (Junior) Hoover

Jeff Royal

Ken Cloaninger

John Goodman

Bill Wood

Max Shaver

Bobby Meismer

Deane Barnette

Clyde Lloyd

Statesville Police Department

Billie Bob Proctor

Fred Chapman Jr.

Harmony Fire Department

Bill Gaither

Wayne Holland

Shepherds Fire Department

Phillip Morrison

Mooresville Fire Department

Thomas Craven Caldwell (also Mooresville Rescue Squad)

Claude Leon (Wimp) Rogers (also Mooresville Rescue Squad)

Michael Jack Holcomb

Lone Hickory Fire Department

Doc Renegar

Ralph Neal

Troutman Fire Department

Jim Hinson

John Larew

Sheffield-Calahaln Fire Department

Mac White

Ronnie Thompson

Lanny Drye

Lake Norman Fire Department

Donny Hager

Allen Deaton

Lamont Thompson

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