Annual Firefighters Memorial Speech – Augusta

Rep. Scott Cyrway – 10/7/23

Good morning, I am Representative Scott Cyrway. I have the honor of representing Albion, Freedom, part of Winslow, and the unorganized territory of Unity Township.

I want to thank the Maine State Federation of Firefighters for inviting me back to speak here today memorializing the service and sacrifices of firefighters, specifically those that have lost their lives in service to our country, state, and local communities.

As a retired Deputy Sheriff and current member of the Maine Fire Protection Services Commission, I’m often reminded of the courage shown by our first responders here in Maine. It is one of the hardest professions there is, because when faced with danger and the loss of potential lives that may happen with any fire scene, it takes courage to put others’ lives before self and dedication to see it though that make firefighting stand apart from most if not all other professions.

Yes, you may have heard that firefighters are a rare breed. And you may have heard the old saying “All men are created equal, then a few become firemen.” You are the ones who run towards danger while all others run from it, and I’ve seen it firsthand.

During my law enforcement career, I’ve seen this incredible self-sacrifice while assisting at fire scenes.

I’ve seen the bravery on display when you realize someone may still be inside a burning structure.

I’ve seen how when the call comes in and you leave the firehouse, you do so without any guarantee that you will return safely, yet you do so willingly because you have chosen a profession that puts the safety and well-being of the rest of us above yourself.

And on those rare, unfortunate occasions, it results in the loss of one of your brethren.

Thirty firefighters have died in the line of duty in Maine since 1921. That doesn’t include the countless others who have been injured while performing their duties.

We are here today to not only thank you all for the extraordinary job you do protecting us every day, but to also pay homage to those who have answered their final call.

Your brothers who have reached the end of their watch.

Those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect others.

These are the men and women who were taken from us too soon while responding to those in need. No matter where the fight – whether in homes, forests or fields, they are the men and women who put their lives on the line so that others could be saved.

They say firefighter never die. Instead, they just burn forever in the hearts of the people whose lives they have saved.

Once a year, we take a few moments here at this memorial to read the names of the fallen, ring the bell, and remember their sacrifice while we also make note of the service of those still with us who put their lives on the line every time they respond to a call.

It is our admiration for this sense of bravery and self-sacrifice that led us to put this memorial in place, and it continues to draw us back each year to recognize what all firefighters do for all of us.

This year, unfortunately, two Line Of Duty Deaths have been added to the memorial. In honor of their memory and the others that have come before them, I want to close with an excerpt from a poem from poems and reflections. It is a funeral poem and memorial tribute honoring the courage and dedication of a firefighter who passed away.

A Firefighter’s Farewell

“…And I know when I meet my maker

My God will be satisfied

That I’ve cared for others more than myself

Through courage and sacrifice

For I’ve battled the tortured infernos

Seeking the wounded, trapped and afraid

I still feel deep sorrow for those I’ve lost

Greatest joy for the lives I’ve saved

And though it breaks my heart to leave you

I want my life to always be

A reminder of how much I’ve loved you

My cherished friends and family

For in the eyes of every person I helped…”

Thank you for your dedication, your selflessness, your bravery and, most of all, your willingness to continue serving the people of Maine.

May God bless you all, and thank you!


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