EMMITSBURG, MD. — The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation will host the 42nd National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend Saturday and Sunday, May 6-7, in Emmitsburg, Md., and a late Noble County man will be among those honored.
Terry Lee Cassidy, 64, of the Sparta Township Fire Department, responded to a medical emergency at a residence on May 23, 2022. While assisting at the scene, he began experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, which he at first disregarded as he continued to treat the patient. He was then transported to a hospital, where he remained until he died on May 26.
Cassidy was a full-time firefighter in Cromwell during the 1970s and ’80s, having joined the department at the age of 16. After years away in other pursuits, he had rejoined his old firehouse just eight months prior to his death while on duty.
This year’s national tribute will honor 79 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2022 and 65 firefighters who died in previous years. One other late Hoosier firefighter will also be among those honored, Bruce DeArk, 53, a deputy chief with the Jeffersonville Fire Department, whose death from colon cancer was deemed in the line of duty by the state.
All of the honored firefighters will have their name inscribed on a bronze plaque that will become a permanent part of the National Memorial in honor of their sacrifices.
Two events are open to the public during the memorial weekend.
The first is the National Fallen Firefighters Candlelight Service at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 6, hosted by Capt. Garon Mosby of the St. Louis Fire Department.
The second is the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 7. U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas is scheduled to address the expected thousands of attendees. Journalist Hillary Howard will host the service. Each family will be presented with an American flag that has flown over the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial and the Capitol, a badge and a rose.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation will live stream both public events on its website, firehero.org, YouTube channel and Facebook page.
Other events during the memorial weekend are provided exclusively for the families and fire departments of the honored firefighters, such as small group work sessions for sharing and healing.
Detailed information about the 144 firefighters being honored is included in the 2023 Roll of Honor, available by clicking on the link.
‘Light the Night’
Those unable to attend the weekend events but who want to pay tribute to firefighters being honored this year can participate in the “Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters,” May 4-7, by lighting their homes, businesses, landmarks or fire departments with red lights.
For more information about the memorial weekend, visit the website at weekend.firehero.org.