Again this year I had the great
honor of representing the town of Emmitsburg in the National
Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. The Fallen
Firefighters Memorial was established in 1981 and has become
one of the many great features of Emmitsburg. As most of you
can see by the banners that now hang in town each year at
this time (first weekend in October), it is very important
to me that the town of Emmitsburg take an active role in
showing the families of the fallen firefighters from all
over the United States how much Emmitsburg appreciates the
service they provided.
Each year there's an average of 100
men and women nationwide honored for a line of duty death.
This year there were 110 men and women honored. As part of
the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service, the Fallen
Firefighters Foundation provides grief-counseling sessions
for family and friends of the fallen firefighters, a
candlelight vigil at the Basilica of the National Shrine of
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and several opportunities for
families to meet and support one another as they go through
this difficult time together.
When I became mayor in 2002, I did
not know why the town never participated in the Fallen
Firefighters Memorial Service. This is a national event that
takes place in our town every year and the town government
did not participate or create a relationship for over 20
years (since the foundation was established). I called the
Foundation and met with Chief Ron Siarnicki. Chief Siarnicki
was pleased to know that the town is interested in
participating in the annual event and offered his assistance
to make the town a welcome partner.
Since that time, I have been invited
as mayor to speak at the opening ceremonies each year. In
2002, the town posted large banners at each entrance to
town; in 2003, we added the smaller banners that hang from
the light poles on Main Street; in 2004, I was asked to
become a member of the planning committee for the 2004
Memorial Service weekend. As a member of the planning
committee I requested to have the annual Red Helmet riders
pass through town on their ceremonial ride for the laying of
the wreath on the Firefighters Memorial.
It continues to be a major goal of
mine to build new relationships of this type for the town
and to continue improving the current relationships with
Mount Saint Mary's, Provincial House, The Fire Academy and
the Emmitsburg business community. I am very pleased with
the new relationships that have been established with the
state, federal, county and municipal governments over the
past two years.
If you have any questions, please
feel free to call the town office, or e-mail me at email@example.com
Read Past Issues of 'From Mayor Jim's Desk'