PEARL, Miss. (WJTV) – Families from across Mississippi gathered to honor firefighters that died on the line of duty this past year.
The Mississippi State Fire Academy, Mississippi Firefighters Association, and Mississippi Fire Chiefs Association hosted a special ceremony in Pearl. The event honored the ten Mississippi firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Terry Wages, the executive director of the Mississippi State Fire Academy, said, “They dedicated their lives to this great profession. We just want to make sure everyone knows how much we appreciate their dedication and support to protecting our communities.”
Kenneth Rainey is one of the fallen heroes who were honored. He worked for the Bridgetown Volunteer Fire Department for more than 25 years. His family said he loved his job, especially since it involved helping the community.
“He was a great person who would buy us stuff if we need it and thought about us first,” said one family member.
Last year, officials said there was no line of duty deaths reported. However, the majority of the firefighters who died in the past year, died from COVID-19.
State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney said, “It’s sad to know that nine out of the ten people that have died in the last year were due to COVID. If it’s within your realm, your religious belief, your health, please consider getting vaccinated.”
All ten of the firefighters will have their names engraved into a memorial at the Mississippi State Fire Academy. The memorial honors fallen heroes, dating back to 1885.