Fallen firefighters remembered in solemn ceremony

March 20, 2010 4:29:23 PM PDT
They're heroes who rush into buildings to save lives and in many cases, they give their own while protecting others. On Saturday, fallen firefighters were honored with the annual memorial ceremony. The music, the bells, the helmets all represent firefighters who've died in the line of duty. They are the sights and sounds of the annual Firefighters' Memorial ceremony and almost every year, tragically, there is a new death to mourn, and more family members grieving the loss of a loved one.

"It's a family and that's what's so important, that they come and show up to remember our fallen," said Cindy Burke, widow of Captain Grady Burke.

They come to honor firefighters like Burke. He was killed five years ago when the roof of a building collapsed.

"He loved his fellow firefighters," said Cindy. "He would do anything he could to help them in their personal life as well as their work lives. He was an awesome man. He was a family man. His children are growing up and they're wonderful young ladies and a young gentleman and I wish he could see that."

Burke was just 40 years old and his wife says days like Saturday remind his kids their dad was a hero.

"It's a very honorable death, yes," she said.

Damian Hobbs had been on the job just one month after achieving his lifelong dream of becoming a firefighter.

"That's what he wanted to do and he wouldn't have done it any other way," said Janice Deshazer, Hobbs' sister.

Hobbs served two tours of duty in Iraq, but last April on Easter Sunday, both he and Captain James Harlow were killed in a house fire. It was Hobbs' first and only fire. He was 30 years old.

"He was a young man of character who enjoyed serving his country and his community and he gave his life doing what he loved," said Deshazer. "He gave it his all because it was all of him, and he would have done it again."

According to the memorial's website, 63 Houston firefighters have died in the line of duty since its it became a paid department in 1895.


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