Fallen Firefighters Remembered Through New Statue and Memorial Ceremony

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Fallen Firefighters Remembered Through New Statue and Memorial Ceremony

Fallen firefighters across North America are being remembered for the sacrifices they’ve made over the years.

On Monday, over 100 people were at Fire Hall 5 – honouring these brave men and women, as well as their families.

This annual ceremony is held on September 11, to remember "the largest single loss of firefighters lives" on 9/11- 16 years ago.

Honour Guard Member and Fire Captain Pat Duggan tells Fort McMurray News anyone who’s made a sacrifice, not just firefighters, deserves to be recognized on this day.

“This is a day where it doesn’t matter if you’re industrial, volunteer, paid professional – this is the work we do, whether you’re integrated like we are – do EMS or straight fire – it doesn’t matter. This is the one day where we get together.”

For the first time since the 80’s, the ceremony was held at a Fire Hall. In past years, city hall and Keyano have split hosting duties.

Duggan notes, despite the location change, this year was very meaningful for many of the firefighters as they remembered Captain Dave Richard, who passed away in 2004, and Battalion Chief James Banting, who passed away in 2011.

“Very large man, strong personality, loved his fishing – a fantastic guy to be with,” said Duggan, talking about Richard. “Always made you feel comfortable, just one of those people you could tell was a character from just looking at him.”

As for Banting, he says he knew him very well – serving under him for years.

“Strong right until the end, didn’t give up, didn’t give up hope but also wouldn’t let onto the guys how bad things were going, always a positive outlook from him and his wife, fantastic man.”

Meanwhile, a new memorial statue has been put up at Fire Hall 5, in the shape of the Maltese Cross.

Duggan notes a few years after Richard’s death, the idea came about to honour him- eventually adding Banting shortly after he passed away.

The statue was officially put up on September 10, being revealed to the public during the ceremony.

The Fire Hall will also host next year’s ceremony.
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