NEW YORK STATE (October 7, 2015) — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced the names of eight fallen firefighters who have been added to the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial located at the Empire State Plaza. With the addition of these eight firefighters, the Fallen Firefighters Memorial now contains the names of 2,398 individuals who lost their lives in the line of duty.
“Today, we pay tribute to these brave individuals who gave their lives while protecting their neighbors and their communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “With the additions to the Fallen Firefighter Memorial, we will help ensure that their sacrifices and their dedication to the safety of others will not be forgotten.”
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and other state officials recognized the contributions of these eight courageous individuals at the 18th Annual Fallen Firefighters Memorial Ceremony today in Albany. During the ceremony, Governor Cuomo issued two proclamations honoring the state’s career and volunteer firefighters. The proclamations mark Tuesday, October 6, as Firefighter Appreciation Day, and the week of October 5-11 as Fire Prevention Week.
Lieutenant Governor Hochul said, “New York is proud to honor the heroic service of our firefighters who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of protecting us from danger. This memorial is an enduring reminder that we cherish their bravery, their mission, and their loved ones. We bestow our everlasting gratitude to these eight individuals today, and on behalf of Governor Cuomo, we vow to never forget.”
New York State Fire Administrator Bryant D. Stevens said, “This memorial serves as an everlasting tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duties. While firefighters understand the dangers they face, the names enshrined on this wall is a stark reminder to every New Yorker of this fact and of the sacrifices made by firefighters every day.”
“Today, I join fire chiefs and emergency responders from throughout New York State to recognize and remember our comrades who have made the supreme sacrifice. We pay tribute to the families of the fallen and will ensure that their sacrifice will be forever honored,” said New York State Association of Fire Chiefs President Chief Daniel J. Schwertfeger.
“Today we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Tens of thousands of firefighters across this great State put their lives on the line every day in to protect their families, their friends, their neighbors, and complete strangers alike. It is our duty never to forget those who have answered their final call,” said Firemen’s Association of the State of New York President Robert McConville.
And New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association President Michael McManus said, “It is with heavy hearts that we remember the brave men and women who we have lost in the line of duty, protecting the citizens of New York State. We recall their bravery and sacrifice and extend our thoughts and prayers to their families and fellow firefighters.”
This year’s additions to the Fallen Firefighters Memorial are:
· Timothy T. Gunther, Firefighter, Poughkeepsie Fire Department, Dutchess County – May 5, 2015
· Joseph Sanford, Jr., Firefighter, Inwood Fire Department, Nassau County – December 23, 2014
· Gordon M. Ambelas, Lieutenant, New York City Fire Department, Kings County – July 5, 2014
· Fred Edwards, Firefighter, Liberty Fire Department, Sullivan County – May 7, 2014
· Kevin J. Bristol, Firefighter, Peekskill Fire Department, Westchester County – March 3, 2014
· Ross E. Huffer, Firefighter, Nesconset Fire Department, Suffolk County – February 27, 2014
· Kevin E. Townes, Sr., Firefighter, Mount Vernon Fire Department, Westchester County – December 8, 2011
· David E. Smith, Captain, Howells Fire Company #1, Orange County – April 11, 2006
Fred Edwards joined the Liberty Hose and Truck Co. No. 2 in August 1967 and remained an active member for 47 years. He served as fire commissioner, lieutenant and trustee with the Liberty Fire Department and also served with the Hudson Valley Firemen and Red Vest Associations. He was a lifelong resident of Liberty and a member of the Fraternal Order of Free Masons and Liberty Elks Lodge.
Fred passed away, at age 66, at his home on May 7, 2014 after participating in a training drill the night before and one earlier in the day, leaving behind his wife Diane, two brothers who also served in the Liberty Fire Department and several other family members.
The Fallen Firefighters Memorial, dedicated in 1998, honors the memory and the valor of our fallen firefighters, as well as pays tribute to the more than 100,000 New York State firefighters who put their lives on the line every day. On average, New York’s firefighters respond to over 1.3 million incidents annually, which represents approximately 3561 events every day, 148 calls per hour, and 2.47 calls per minute.