You can read the story from our March 2017 issue, The Firefighters’ Final Shift, here.
In a ceremony marking the one-year anniversary of a house fire that killed three Wilmington firefighters—Captain Christopher Leach, Lieutenant Jerry Fickes Jr. and Lieutenant Ardythe Hope—Mayor Purzycki will sign a mayoral executive order declaring Sept. 24 of each year a Day of Remembrance throughout Wilmington. The Mayor said this date should be an annual commemoration of the heroic and ultimate sacrifice made by three brave city firefighters, as well as an opportunity for citizens to say thank you to all first responders who routinely place their lives in jeopardy to serve citizens.
The executive order ceremony will take place at noon on Monday, Sept. 25, at Wilmington Fire Station No. 4 where family members of the deceased firefighters are expected to attend. The ceremony will include the presentation of three bronze plaques honoring the late firefighters, which will be permanently installed at the three fire stations to which the firefighters were assigned. In addition, a citizen from Elkton, Maryland—Barbara Greer—commissioned artist Kaziah Hancock to paint portraits of each of the firefighters, which will be presented to their families at Monday’s ceremony.
Mayor Purzycki on Sept. 20 thanked City Council Member Bob Williams (7th District) who sponsored the unanimously approved City Council Resolution last December, which requested that Station No. 4 (2200 Tatnall Street) be dedicated to the memory of Lieutenant Fickes, Station No. 5 (1806 North Dupont Street) to the memory of Lieutenant Hope, and Station No. 6 (224 N. Union Street) to the memory of Captain Leach.
Those scheduled to speak at Monday’s ceremony, in addition to the Mayor and Council Member Williams, are City Council President Hanifa Shabazz, Fire Department Chief Michael Donohue, IAFF Local No. 1590 President Capt. Kevin Turner and family members of the deceased firefighters.
Members of IAFF Local 1590—as well as family members of Firefighters Leach, Fickes and Hope—took part in another service last weekend in Colorado to remember the fallen firefighters. The names of Captain Leach, Lieutenant Fickes and Lieutenant Hope were among 196 fallen firefighters from the United States and Canada whose names were added to a granite Wall of Honor of the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial in Colorado Springs, Colorado.