Memorial Service

   The 29th Annual Iowa Firefighters Memorial Service was held in Coralville, IA, June 9th with an absolutely beautiful day.  The 22nd Annual Candlelight Service was held Saturday night June 8th at 9 p.m.  Around 200 attended the candlelight service with no rain and no wind!

   Rev. David Arnold was our leader in faith for the evening service and gave another special message.   A slide show of the many aspects of firefighting was shown but the music (Audio) wasn’t working.  They tried it before the service and it worked just fine. (Technology is great when it works!) A special reading was done by Dave Zimple called “I Wish”. Next was the Bell Ceremony presented by Dave Zimple and Roger Carr rang the bell.  Bagpiper, Glenn Chatfield played “The Bells of Dunblane” on his bagpipe. The candles were lit and viewed on the walls. It was a perfect night for the event.  

   The Sunday morning attendance for the 29th Annual Service was around 1,500 people. The grounds were pretty full with the attendees.

   Iowa Firefighters Association President, Roger Carr of Holland, welcomed everyone and asked all to help pay tribute to our beloved firefighters. The Memorial Committee lost two of their own this past year or so.  Jack Runge of Buckeye passed away on May 18, 2023 and was a dedicated member of the Memorial Committee and worked closely with Mike and Joan to maintain the mission of the memorial. Jack had a strong voice and enjoyed helping out with the service. The other past president was Carl Svenson of Decorah who died Oct. 5, 2023 who has been very active in the fire service as a Fire Marshal’s Investigator for many years and also very involved with the fund raising for this site.  

   This year we added 178 new names to the walls so as of June 2024 there is a total of 3,668 names on the walls. Two IFA Past Presidents were added this year to the right front panel which is reserved for Past Presidents. There were 3 Line of Duty Deaths added to the panel in the center back reserved for those who have given the Ultimate Sacrifice. Those being Tony Hoffman of Ionia F.D., Carl Larson of Stratford F.D. and Brad Sherwood of Cedar Falls F.D.  One name was added to the line at the bottom of Panel F which is saved for Special Friends of the Iowa Fire Service, George Oster of Ames was added. He was the Director of the Fire Service Training Bureau for several years and a dedicated instructor.

    Special thanks to the Iowa Honor Guard for taking part in this service, you always do such a fine job.  We are lucky to have so many of you join us.   We also wish to thank our musician, Mike Kuk of Anacoco, Louisiana for his talents of singing and playing the keyboard for us again this year. We thank Glenn Chatfield and the Pipes & Drums performers for that special touch. It just wouldn’t be a special service without the talents of all of the musicians and our new soloist who performed the National Anthem for us this year.  What a beautiful voice, thanks Marla Schultz of Camanche, IA.

   The two fellas with the big jobs of reading the names and ringing the bell, we say THANK YOU!  Dave Zimple of Fort Dodge and Rusty Hockman of Jewell took on the job this year. Thank you for your endurance.  The 178 names we added this year were the most the Memorial has seen since it was dedicated in 1994.

   We must not forget to thank Dave and Deb Stannard for their help in organizing the program for the service and always keeping an eye on the Memorial Site. We’d also wish to thank Diana Lundell for adding all 178 names and biographies to the website.

   Thanks to all of you!  Iowa Firefighters Association President, Roger Carr, his board of directors along with the great women who come with them.  We love you girls!  You do fantastic work! We thank Chief Orey Schwitzer and the Coralville Firefighters for all of their muscles getting the tents and chairs in place and taking everything down.       Please continue to support this Memorial and join us again.

   The fire service family is truly blessed, you are very correct, Rev. Arnold!  All who helped with the services in any way, we can’t say THANK YOU enough!  

Memorial Wall Expansion Donations since last month:

   • Desmond & Laura Duggan of Belgrade, MT.

   • Rick & DeShawn Schmitt of DeWitt, IA.

   • Cash donations given at the Memorial Service.

Blaze Publications, Inc.

Jeff Gargano - Editor
P.O. Box 122
Humboldt, IA 50548

News and Advertising: News and advertising deadlines are the 15th of each month for the next month's issue.


Comment Here