Firefighters from all over Alaska march from the CES station down Kobuk St. to honor their colleagues who made the ultimate sacrifice.
After a huge search and rescue and search and recovery effort, closure came last week as Firefighters from across Southcentral Alaska gathered to honor Central Emergency Services (CES) firefighter Cameron Carter. It was Carter’s request to have a Fire Department funeral according to Assistant CES chief Gordon Orth, “In the event of an emergency we have paper work on all our personnel where they express their wishes in the event of an emergency and Mr. Carter stated that he wanted a Fire Department funeral, which has over 200 years of tradition part of which is a procession to honor the individual and his service,” Orth told the Dispatch.
"With each fire we change a green bulb to red as an indicator of the number of fires and the white bulb indicates a firefighter fallen in the line of duty during that time period."
About ten different departments from around the State came to the Peninsula to participate in the procession with more than 15 different fire fighting apparatus from various areas and more than sixty fire service personnel marching on the cold Alaskan winter day. “It was a long cold march and each individual in the procession was doing it for a purpose and to show their individual respect and honor for the one we lost. It deepens our respect and bonding with one another when we lose a brother, fire fighting is a brotherhood,” said Orth. At this time it is unknown whether any recovery efforts will be re-initiated in the spring.
A white light now glows at the top of the CES Wreath in remembrance of the CES fire fighter lost in service. According to CES Fire Marshall Gary Hale the wreath program started four years ago, “It’s part of a nationwide program to make people more aware that this is the busiest time of the year for residential fires because of the cold and holiday season that increases use of lights and candles, so Keep the Wreath Green is a program that starts December 1st and continues for 30 days with the goal to keep all the lights on the wreath green. With each fire we change a green bulb to red as an indicator of the number of fires and the white bulb indicates a firefighter fallen in the line of duty during that time period,” explained Hale.
The six foot diameter CES Wreath was made by students at Skyview High School, “We thought it would be good idea to have the Skyview shop class participate in creating the wreath, so we offered to buy the materials if they would build it. We were totally amazed at what they came up with, I’ve surfed the web and looked at other wreaths across the country and can tell you that we have one of the finest in country and we’re very proud of what the Skyview students contributed to our program here,” said Hale. With the final and busiest days of the Keep the Wreath Green program still ahead Hale expressed concern that more red lights may yet be added to this year’s wreath and asked everyone to use extra care with their use of electricity, candles, and wood heating systems during the remaining cold winter days.
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