Line-of-duty death memorial rededicated

Hundreds gather for event


On Saturday, Oct. 29, scores of firefighters and EMS workers and their families from across Suffolk County gathered at the Suffolk County Fire Academy in Yaphank for the rededication of the Line of Duty Death Memorial and the 9/11 Memorial in the fire academy plaza.

The ceremony was called to order by Robert D. Sutton, the president of the Fire Chiefs Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Association, followed by the presentation of colors by Thomas Kriklava, president of the Fire Chiefs Council of Suffolk County and the Fire Chiefs Council of Suffolk County’s ceremonial detail unit. The ceremonial detail unit then led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

During his remarks, Patrick Beckley, the commissioner of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services, noted the uptick in losses of firefighters and EMS workers.

“We’ve lost too many firefighters and EMS workers this year—in recent months, especially—and we continue to lose more every day,” Beckley said. “We lose them to illnesses they contracted because of their bravery, we lose them to a pandemic of historic proportions, we lose them tragically to violence while performing their duties. So today, adding the names to this memorial is really just a small measure of the sacrifices that were made by the fallen and their families.”

Town of Brookhaven supervisor Ed Romaine attended the event and thanked the firefighters and EMS workers as well as the individuals who made the rededication possible.

“Someone once said, ‘We are what we remember,’” Romaine said. “Today, we remember those who died in the line of service. We remember the firefighters, the EMS workers.”

The names of the fallen that were added to the memorial were read by deputy director of the Suffolk County Fire Academy, Rudy Sunderman; president of the Suffolk County Fire District Officers Association, Joseph Badala; president of the Fire Chiefs of Suffolk County, Thomas Kriklava; and president of the Fire Chiefs Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Association, Robert D. Sutton. The firefighters memorialized included individuals from as far back as 1916 and as recently as September 2022. After the reading of the names, taps was played followed by “Amazing Grace.”

The event closed with a reading from the Firefighters Prayer and a benediction by John Fleischmann, chaplain of the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Association.


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