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Wolterman, Pieniazek Among Those Honored At Firefighter's Memorial

Hamilton Firefighter Patrick Wolterman's was the final name read Thursday afternoon during the Last Roll Call and Final Bell ceremony at the Greater Cincinnati Firefighters Memorial Service. Wolterman died after falling through a floor while responding to a house fire Dec. 28.Cincinnati Firefighter Jordan Pieniazek was also recognized. He was killed while riding his motorcycle to work May 1.

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Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
Elizabeth Pieniazek, wife of Jordan Pieniazek, presents flowers on behalf of the Hamilton County Police & Fire Widows Assn.

The annual memorial service remembers those who have died in the line of duty during the past year, along with retirees from fire agencies across the region.

Union Local 48 President Matt Alter took a moment to recognize the sacrifices all firefighters and their families make.

"Even without a line of duty death, our firefighters, both active and retired, continue to suffer occupational illness from years of exposure to the hazards of our profession as well as the effects of the post-traumatic stress disorder," says Alter. "It is important that we remember their sacrifices as well."

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Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
Several hundred people gather at the Greater Cincinnati Firefighters Memorial to remember those who died in the past year.

Cincinnati Fire Chief Richard Braun served as this year's keynote speaker. He addressed the double line of blue-clad fire cadets, noting the importance of their presence at a ceremony to honor those who have come before them.

"It is incumbent upon you to build on their legacy," he told them. "Don't ever be satisfied with the status quo. In many ways the tasks that lay before you are harder and more complex. Dedicate yourselves to be better than the generation that preceded you. Strive to achieve excellence, push to make our citizens safer. Make no mistake about it, you are the first line of defense for our community against all natural and man-made disasters."

Braun continued, "By giving more than you ever anticipated, you will bring honor to those we remember today."

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Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
The memorial's fire bell is tolled for each of the 34 Greater Cincinnati firefighters, active and retired, who died in the last year.