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Girard Fire honors the fallen - KOAM TV 7

Girard Fire honors the fallen

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GIRARD, KANSAS -

The Girard Fallen Firefighters Memorial began 28 years ago in the loss of six Kansas City firefighters from a nitroglycerin explosion. This year's ceremony came in eerily similar circumstances with the loss of Kansas City firefighters Larry Leggio and John Mesh.

"We're there behind the scenes but most people never have to call 911 for the fire department. Most people never have to use our services, and most people don't realize that firefighters are out there day in and day out both paid and volunteer, risking their lives to help out other people. It's good to memorialize those who have passed just because the fact that you never know when a line of duty death is going to happen," Girard Fire Chief Chase Waggoner said.

The southeast Kansas honor guard read off 87 names of fallen firefighters lost in the past year. A bell was rung for every name read. Wichita Fire Battalion Chief Sid Newby served as the keynote speaker.

"We try to remember those who have gone before us and that we're there for our communities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we are just neighbors helping neighbors," Newby said.

Special training takes place year-round in departments to ensure on-duty deaths are minimal.

"Training is always based on trying to bring everybody home. My number one goal is however many firefighters respond on scene, that many firefighters respond home to their families," Neodesha Fire Chief Duane Banzet said.

Waggoner said that the nation averages 100 firefighters lost each year, and this ceremony is their small way of ensuring they have not died in vain.

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