STAMFORD, Conn. -- Members of Stamford Firefighters Local 786 were in Colorado Springs this past weekend to honor a local firefighter who made the ultimate sacrifice , adding his hame to a national memorial.
Richard Saunders, a 30-year veteran, died of cancer last year. He was 52 and left behind his wife, Cathy; two step-children, Michael and Kelly; two sisters and several nieces and nephews.
Saunders name was added to the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Memorial in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The local firefighters presented a flag to members of Saunders family, also present at Saturday's afternoon ceremony.
Saunders name is listed on the memorial because his illness arose from his firefighting duties.
It honors firefighters who have died in the line of duty, according to the IAFF.
The names of seven other Stamford firefighters are already engraved there, the group said.
They are: Capt. Daniel Chichester, who died in 2010; William Thomas Miller Jr. (2001), Henry Wosniak, (1973), Capt. George Daily (1956), Capt. James R. Murray (1945), Thomas J. Meehan (1932) and Oscar H. Spahr (1920).
Etched in granite are the names of professional firefighters from across the United States and Canada who died in the line of duty dating back to 1918.
They include those who have died on the job, as well as an “alarming number” of firefighters who succumbed to chronic illnesses linked to the fire service such as heart disease and cancer, Keatley said.
The names, the association said, “tell a bigger story, a century of sacrifice and service, a fire service that has given so much but become stronger and made communities safer.”
Saunders, a Stamford native, began his career in 1985 and rose through the ranks to establish a distinguished career that involved “many memorable moments and commendations,” according to his obituary.
During his first year, Saunders and his crew rescued a man who had been trapped under an oil tanker truck.
Saunders also helped rescue a man and two children from a house fire.
He became a hazardous materials technician in 2000 and had, during the last eight years of his life, been the assigned driver of Truck 2, serving the residents of the city’s south end.
He was a certified firefighter 1 and 2 and a medical response technician.
The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is a labor union representing professional firefighters and emergency medical services personnel in the United States and Canada.
The centerpiece of the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial is a bronze likeness of a fire fighter descending a ladder while cradling an infant in one arm. Towering 20 feet above the park’s surface, “Somewhere, Everyday” epitomizes the courage and bravery displayed daily by professional fire fighters across the continent.
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