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Medina FD dedicates memorial

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 September 2013 at 12:00 am

‘Firefighters are the lifeblood and the backbone of our community.’ – State Assemblyman Steve Hawley

Medina firefighters Josh Wolck, left, and Matt Jackson serve as the honor guard for a new firefighters’ memorial in front of City Hall.

Photos by Tom Rivers – A crowd gathered at 11 a.m. today for the dedication service for a new memorial to Medina firefighters.

MEDINA – A stone memorial in honor of Medina firefighters was dedicated today in front of City Hall, a monument that includes the names of two firefighters who died in the line of duty.

Chief James Schooly died in 1934 and Lt. Darwin Ehrenreich perished in 1954 while on calls for the department. The Fire Department also has started a memorial brick walkway that includes the names of deceased firefighters who were either full-time paid firefighters or who were callmen with at least 20 years of service. Their names are inscribed in bricks.

Fire Chief Todd Zinkievich said the names of the honored firefighters “won’t be slid in a drawer and never heard from again.” Current firefighters often share stories about their predecessors, and speak with affection of the past generation of firemen.

“Please remember your family members will live in our hearts each and every day and will never be forgotten,” Zinkievich said at the dedication, which was attended by many friends and relatives of the honored firefighters.

Medina Fire Chief Todd Zinkievich addresses about 50 people during a dedication service for a new firefighters’ memorial.

Firefighter Jonathan Higgins helped plan the memorial. He said the current firefighters are grateful to have careers where they can serve the community. Medina has 13 paid firefighters who run an ambulance service that is the primary responder for those calls in western Orleans.

Medina Mayor Andrew Meier said the memorial is a reminder of the dedication of village personnel. The department dates back to 1832.

“All of us are standing on the shoulders of those who came before us,” Meier said. “This is a legacy we have inherited from our grandfathers and fathers.”

He called on current residents of the community to keep working in service, establishing a legacy that will keep Medina moving forward.

“We need to lay a foundation for future generations just like our predecessors did for us,” Meier said.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley was one of the speakers at today’s dedication. He praised the Medina Fire Department for protecting residents’ lives and property.

“Firefighters are the lifeblood and backbone of our community,” he said.

Don Marchner, a Medina firefighter, speaks at the podium during today’s dedication ceremony. Marchner said the names of deceased Medina firefighters who were callmen for at least 20 years. They each have their names memorial bricks in front of the firefighters’ memorial.

The fire department’s Benevolent Association paid for the monument, which includes an inscription of “The Firefighter’s Prayer.”

The memorial brick walkway includes the names of the following past career firefighters:

Assistant Chief Joseph Stillwell, who served from 1923-1947; Edward Pahura, 1941-1953; Louis Button Sr., 1941-1960; Fred Board, 1941-1961; Chief Ralph Whiting, 1941-1969; Lt. Edward Ehrenreich, 1942-1968; William Board Sr., 1944-1965; Lt. Frank Eppolito, 1947-1969; Donald Cook, 1953-1976; Lt. Richard Clark, 1960-1986; Assistant Chief Alex Hewitt Jr., 1964-1988; Lt. Jason Drought, 1965-1987; Douglas Maynard, 1968-1995; Brian Kwiatkowski, 1985-2008; and Kenneth Dunn, 1994-2007.

The following past callmen were honored:

Lous Metz, Robert Fox, Trever Reynolds, Anthony Santillo, Carl Furness, Charlie Dutcher, Shane Ackerson, Floyd Harris, Raymond Riches, Percy Renouf, Harold Miller, Walter Dillon, Steve Champlin, Robert Foss and Berard Feltz.

Brian Kwiatkowski, a Medina fireifghter from 1985 to 2008, is among those honored with a memorial brick.