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Firefighters Remember Their Fallen

Cincinnati Fire Chief Richard Braun surveyed the faces of those attending the 2015 Greater Cincinnati Firefighters Memorial Services Thursday. He spoke of honor and sacrifice.

"Unlike professional ball players who are applauded by thousands and are paid millions when they catch a pass or score a touchdown, firefighters run into burning buildings, save lives, don't make millions of dollars, and don't get applauded by thousands of people. They're just doing their job."Braun thanked firefighters from around the region who gathered at the Greater Cincinnati Firefighters Memorial Park for the annual remembrance. The service honors those who have died in the past year as well as those who died in the line of duty.

This year was particularly emotional for the Cincinnati Fire Department following the line of duty death of Fire Apparatus Operator Daryl Gordon in March. Gordon's wife, Angela, was among those presenting mums which will be planted at the memorial.

Politicians from across the county and the state made presentations and offered proclamations. Vice Mayor David Mann paraphrased a line from the movie Saving Private Ryan, encouraging everyone to earn the sacrifices made by our first responders.

Near the end of the service the names of the dead and fallen were read aloud as a firefighter tolled the "final bell" for each.

According to Local 48 President Matt Alter, firefighters face threats to their lives whether they're working or not. "Many of our active and retired members continue to suffer from occupational illness from exposure to unknown toxins and products of combustion. Working with our elected officials, we're confident they they will ensure that Ohio will become the 37th state to enact presumptive cancer legislation and ensure that our firefighters receive the care that they deserve; that they earned."

Under a presumptive cancer law, firefighters would not have to prove they developed the disease because of work-related exposure.  A bill in the Ohio House was referred to committee October 1.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.