Weekend ceremonies to honor firefighters

The Fire Fighters’ Historic Preservation Foundation hosts its annual tribute to Missouri’s fallen firefighters this weekend.

Starting at dusk (approximately 9 p.m.) Saturday at the Fire Fighters Memorial of Missouri in Kingdom City will be a candlelight vigil to honor the 50 firefighters or former firefighters who have passed away over the past year, whose names will be inscribed on the Memorial Wall. That service also will include a video tribute to the fallen firefighters featuring photos and information provided by the families. Then at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, the annual memorial service will focus on firefighters who died in the line of duty during 2012 — Richard Paul of the Kansas City Fire Department, Less Clark of the Dixon Rural Fire Protection District and Henry Branscum of Northeast R-4 Rural Fire Association — whose names are now included on the Sacrifice Wall.

Callaway County Western District Commissioner Doc Kritzer, who himself served for 25 years as a firefighter and is a member of the FFHPF board, said he looks forward to the opportunity to pay tribute to his fallen comrades every year.

“It’s a very touching ceremony. We usually have bagpipers come in and play and this year Fire Chief (Mitch) Randles will be the guest speaker Sunday,” Kritzer said. “I just think it’s nice to be able to take time out and recognize people.”

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