Ohio Fire Chiefs Conference
Opening Ceremony July 13, 2017
We Speak Your Name
By Burton A. Clark

We Speak Your Name, because we are firefighters, because our sons and daughters are firefighters, because our mothers, and fathers are firefighters, because our sisters, and brothers are firefighters. By speaking your name, we honor you, and we honor the past, because all of us here today owe you a debt that cannot be paid. By speaking your name, we celebrate your life, and the Precious Present you gave us. By speaking your name, we believe in the future, and take your memory with us into tomorrow.
We speak your name…. group 1

Charolette R. Adair, Allan H. Anderson, Jr., Oscar Armstrong III, Gregory S. Baker,
Michael Ray Baughn, Randy D. Boley, Edward L. Brillhart, Michael A. Burgan, Edward CareyStephen D. Carletti, Kenneth Cashman, Donnie G. Cathcart, Robert G. Chilcote, Frederick Alan Coates, Edward Patrick Conricote, Donald C. Cottrell, Brooks Cowgill, Thomas E. Coyne Jr., Kinnison F. Cribley, Michael E. Cupp, James B. Daniels, Michael J. Darrington, Arthur R. Denny II, Earl G. Detty Jr., James A. Dickman, Albert P. Dingle, Duane P. Dress, Rocky E. Dunkin,Arthur R. Ebert, James N. Eddy, Richard A. Eierdam, William A. Ellison III, Dale F. Eyerdom, Ronald Fogel, John R. Fritz, Robert K. Galehouse

We speak your name, because it takes courage to be a firefighter, and it takes courage to be part of the fire service family. Your name gives us the courage to carry-on every day. We speak your name, because we are committed to the fire service, and our families. Your name is our example of the love you gave to your family and the service. We speak you name, because we are competent firefighters who always strive to do better – in memory of you.
We speak your name… group 2

John August Garman, Maurice Gates, James D. Geiger, Arthur J. Girty, Robert Douglas Good, Daryl Eugene Gordon, William Bryan Gray Sr., Terry Richard Guss Sr., Paul L. Haislop Sr., James M. Hall, James H.Hanson, James E. Harvey Jr., Lawrence J. Hauserman, Raymond C. Hickman,Raymond D. Holtz, Charles Horning II, Eddy G. Ivers, Eugene F. Jankowski, James H. Johnson, Kenneth J. Jutte, Jennifer L. Kibbey, Phillips S. Kibler, David C. Knapke, Steven J. Knaus, Robert W. Leas, Terry Leasher, Adam Le Long, Richard A. Long, Stephen A. Machcinski, Conrad A. Mansfield, Reuben E. Mast, Kathryn Ann Mayfield, Joseph M. McCafferty,John McCroden, Frank E. McGaffick, Frank I. McMannes

We speak you name, because the fire service is a calling. You taught us that the fire service is a Life and Death discipline. By speaking your name, we are reminded that what we know, and don’t know has consequences for those we service, and for those we love. Your name demands that we hold ourselves to the highest level of professionalism.

We speak your name… group 3

Bruce E. Mettler, Brian E. Metts, John J. Meyer, Brad A. Michener,Paul R. MontavonSr., Leroy E. Murphy Jr., Jeffrey M. Murray, John W. Nance, Dale E. Nelboeck,Gregory A. Northup, Robert J. O’Toole,Steve Olinik Jr., Kevin J. Ollier, Daniel R. Pescatrice,Ricke E. Phillips, Leo A. Powell, Lee A. Purdy, Robert W. Raitz, Kenny Ray Jr., Jeffery K. Renner, James Thomas “Tom” Rhamey, Gregory E. Rodgers, John A. Rozzi Jr., Charles A. Rudd,Lawrence D. Savage, Brian W. Schira, Edgar J. Schneider, Arthur E. Schumacher, Dustin ‘Dusty’ Michael Schwendeman, Henry L. Scott, Ray E. Scott, Harold Wayne Seek, Ryan Neil Seitz, Michael P. Shaughnessy, Earl R. Shelton, Timothy S.J. Shiltz

We speak your name, because our work is not done. Prometheus gave us the gift of fire, enabling humans to become like the gods; however, Zeus coursed us, never allowing mortals to completely control the gift of fire. Thusly, from the beginning of time we have needed firefighters, and firefighters will continue to be needed till the end of time.
We speak your name… group 4

Richard D. Shively, Sammy R. Smith, Harold M. Sparks, Bruce A Stayner, Orval Jean Steele,Gary Lawrence Studer, Paul W. Swander, Leo L. Swank, Michael L. Sweeney, Lawrence J. Sweetnich, Roy J. Swinehart, Edward D. Teare, David Paul Theisen, Robert J. Tieche Sr,. Jon C. Trainer,Cynthia J. Verburg Walter E. Wade, John W. Walsh, Donald Eugene Ward, Tommy J. Ware, John J. Wayman Sr., Arnold E. Weaver, Daniel C. Wilson, Patrick Robert Wolterman, Rose A. Woodbridge, Robert E. Woolf, Patrick E. Yahle, Daniel H. Yaklin, Richard L. Yarman, Robin M. Zang-Broxterman, Jared W. Zimmerly

We spoke your name because we love you, because we miss you, because we are grateful for you. We spoke your name because God created you to be a firefighter, and made us to be part of you.

We thank God for you, and all firefighters – past, present, and future.

Note: This poem was written for and delivered at the Ohio Fire Chiefs Conference in 2017; the printed version was edited by Chief Michael D. Chiaramonte CFO, FIFireE. The poem was inspired by the poem “We Speak Your Names” (c) Pearl Cleage, 2005. The firefighter’s names are listed on the National Fallen Firefighter memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The audience was given envelopes with the names of the fallen firefighters. Each group was asked to rise between stanzas and Speak the Name.

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