EXETER, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island was one of only four states in the nation that did not have a memorial dedicated to fallen firefighters, but that all changed on Saturday.
Hundreds attended the dedication ceremony for the new Rhode Island Fire Memorial, including Carol Jones who lost her husband in 2002.
“He had been everything I had ever prayed for in a husband and so much more than I deserved. He was 46-years-old,” she said.
Now 17 years later, Jones can say his memory will live on forever along with dozens of fallen firefighters from Rhode Island.
“I wanted to say wow, but I will go with incredible,” Jones said.
“Finally, we have a statewide firefighters memorial and we don’t have to all go to Emmitsburg, Maryland. It’s great that they’re there but we needed one in Rhode Island for our Rhode Island fire service,” Executive Director of the R.I. Association of Fire Chiefs Richard Susi added.
Warren Fire Captain Patrick O’Brien responded to a call in 2004. One of his members didn’t make it back – his father. He called the memorial ceremony on Saturday a historic day for the state.
“For us not to have one, it meant a lot for them to bring that here, the fire chiefs doing that, and bringing that memorial here to us for family,” O’Brien said.
“Four members in the town of Warren that are on that wall and it means a lot,” he added. “To be here representing the town of Warren and my family means a lot, to be able to see my father’s name on this wall and him to be memorialized for giving his life in the line of duty. We come back out here, we can remember the ones that are on there, but we don’t want to come here to add more names.”
The memorial is located outside the Rhode Island Fire Training Academy. More than $300,000 was raised to build the state memorial.