A service honoring and remembering firefighters Wednesday morning in Cullman will become an annual event.
With an original fire department bell from the late 1800s anchoring the memorial at the fire station on Main Avenue, local officials and fire department and family members gathered to recognize the service of firefighters of the past and present.
“What we have in mind, and we’re still putting together ideas, is to have a memorial to firefighters on 9/11, or to those who lost their lives in the wildfires out west and to always remember those in our community as well as the ones who are serving now,” Cullman Fire Chief Edward Reinhardt said.
Recognizing the families of the firefighters and showing appreciation for everyone involved this area of public service is also a goal on the minds of local officials, he said.
“A lot of it is ideas or in the planning session, but we want families of the firefighters to be part of this, to know our appreciation for the service of their loved ones,” Reinhardt said. “It’s something everyone in the public can be a part of in some way.”
Cullman Mayor Max Townson, who participated in Wednesday’s event, said recognizing the service and risks firefighters face should make everyone pause.
“The thing that is so impressive is you should look at all firefighters. They know through their training there are dangers, even though they are well prepared. So many unexpected things can happen in their work, and they face that all the time,” Townson said. “A lot of people like to tell us who is a hero for one reason or another, but firefighters are real heroes because of what they do for all of us with such great risk and professionalism.”
The bell that anchors the firefighters memorial was originally cast by a company in Baltimore, Maryland, and was used by the local fire department more than a century ago. Reinhardt said the company is still in business.
“That’s amazing to discover that,” Reinhardt said. “The bell was located at two other fire stations in Cullman before the memorial was established.”
David Palmer may be contacted at 256-734-2131, ext. 116, or email@example.com.