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Local Firefighters Honor Their Fallen Brothers

By Paul Chasko

Each year, area firefighters gather at the Washington County Firemen’s Association (WCFA) training facility near Houston, PA to honor their brothers and sisters who have passed on during the previous year – some in the line of duty.

Firemen Memorial1
A white carnation is placed in a firefighter's boot and a fire bell is struck for each name read into the honor roll.

 The ceremony this year was held on Sunday, October 6. Pennsylvania firefighters were honored along with those from out of state who had reciprocal coverage arrangements with PA departments.

The memorial sits below a grass-covered hillside adjacent to the training area and is fronted by a walkway of bricks engraved with the names of fallen firefighters in memory of their service. Several fire departments were in attendance, along with the Red Knights (Chapter 13).

Among the attendees were: Washington County Commissioners Harlan Schober, Larry Maggi and Dianna Irey Vaughan; PA Senate Candidate Camera Bartolloi; Washington County District Attorney Mr. Eugene Vittone; and Mr. William Ennis (founding fire instructor for the WCFA).

All attendees passed under the aerial ladders of two fire trucks supporting a large American Flag as they approached the memorial site.

Advancing the colors to the memorial site were the Red Knights. This was followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Dana Delesio, a welcome by WCFA President Michael McBride Jr., recognition of special guests by past president Ruth Manning, and an opening prayer by William Manning , WCFA Chaplain. Guest speaker Pastor Brent Furlong of the Nottingham Christian Center gave a moving tribute to all emergency responders and especially those recently passed.

The highlight of the memorial ceremony was the individual tributes - a bell tolled for each name called out being added to the honor roll as a white carnation was placed in a fireman’s boot. The roll call of duty death included the following:


  • Claudia J. Sokol (February 22, 2013) – Diligence Fire Co. #1, Summit Hill
  • Michael R Goodwin Sr. (April 6, 2013) – Philadelphia Fire Dept., Philadelphia
  • Rodney P. Miller (April 27, 2013) – Loganville Fire Dept., Loganville
  • Bruce L. Sensenig (June 22, 2013) – Quentin Vol. Fire Co., Quentin
  • Blaine W. Wildnauer (November 2, 2013) – Fox Twp. Volunteer Fire Dept., Kersey
  • Russ “Rooster” D. Grow III (November 21, 2013) – Factoryville Fire Dept., Factoryville


  • Leroy Murphy Jr. (October 20, 2013) – Gettysburg Rural Fire Dept., Gettysburg
  • Terry “Dick” R. Guss, Sr. (December 15, 2013) S. Zanesville Fire Dept., S. Zanesville
  • John J. Wayman Sr. (December 15, 2013) – Jefferson Vol. Fire Dept., Jefferson

West Virginia

  • John T. Appleton (June 24, 2013) – Molden Vol. Fire Department, Charleston
  • Charles A. Pierson (December 7, 2013) – South Jackson County Vol. Fire Dept., Kenna

The ceremony closed with the sounding of “Taps” played by Max Gonano, singing of Amazing Grace by Dana Delesio, and closing remarks by WCFA Chaplain William Manning and finally with the “striking of three fives” on the fire bell – a ceremonial indication that the above men have answered their final call.

Click on Gallery for more photos of this event by Paul Chasko and Bill Grubbs




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