Statewide Public Safety Memorial to Honor Roanoke Firefighters

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Virginia Public Safety Foundation is requesting information on line of duty deaths from public safety organizations across Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia is embarking on an important effort to honor the courage and integrity of Virginia’s fallen heroes by constructing a statewide Public Safety Memorial.  A focal point of this Memorial, which will have a place of prominence in Richmond’s Capitol Square, will be a comprehensive list of the individuals who have died in the line of duty.  This list will include law enforcement officers, firefighters, correctional officers, members of the Virginia National Guard, emergency medical services personnel and others.  The goal of this Memorial is to include the engraved name of every Virginian who has given their life in the service of the Commonwealth, in compliance with the guidelines of the Line of Duty Death Act of 1972.

The Virginia Public Safety Foundation (VPSF), which is serving as the Commonwealth’s official administrator for the Memorial, currently is in the process of reaching out to law enforcement organizations across Virginia to collect Line of Duty Death (LODD) data.  Letters have been sent to over 1,300 agencies requesting LODD cases, including those preceding 1972.  Submissions that are not already included on the Commonwealth’s roster, including all those prior to 1972, will be reviewed for eligibility by members of the Public Safety Memorial Commission appointed by Governor Bob McDonnell.

In order to ensure that their fallen heroes are recognized on the Memorial, it is critical that every public safety organization in Virginia respond to VPSF’s request for information so that the Commonwealth can develop an accurate, comprehensive LODD roster.  The Roanoke Fire-EMS Department recently filed a LODD report with VPSF cataloging the eight fatalities that the Department has suffered, including one that dates back to the early 20th century.

In 1913, when William Howard Taft still occupied the White House, fire “engines” relied on actual horse power.  On July 10, 1913, Firefighter Jacob Talley was involved in a tragic incident that resulted in his death two days later.  As Talley’s hose wagon was exiting Station No. 3, part of the harness became loose, and Talley was jerked by his reins into the street where he was trampled by the horses pulling the wagon.

“Responding to the VPSF survey in a timely manner was a very high priority for our Department,” said Roanoke Fire-EMS Chief David Hoback. “We wanted to ensure that the legacy of our fallen firefighters who have made the ultimate sacrifice would be honored and remembered.  It makes me very proud that our eight brave firefighters who died in the line of duty will be recognized on the walls of the Commonwealth Public Safety Memorial.”