BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland’s first responders who lost their lives on duty are being honored this week.
Each of them leave behind family and friends, and a legacy of service.
WJZ’s Devin Bartolotta has the story of one firefighter being remembered.
The Fallen Heroes Day ceremony will be Friday, May 5, at 1 p.m. The public is welcome, and Governor Larry Hogan has ordered flags fly at half staff in honor of those heroes.
Friday’s ceremony is just as much about the families of the fallen first responders, who are still grieving the loss of their heroes.
For Jane Neville, pictures tell the story of a young family who didn’t get enough time.
“It has been difficult, there’s no question,” Neville said. “We think about Brian every day, all the time.”
In 2008, Jane’s son, Brian Neville, a Baltimore County firefighter, died unexpectedly in his sleep.
He was just 32 years old, and left behind his wife, their three kids, and more than a decade of service as a paramedic and firefighter.
“You have two choices when this happens. You either fall apart and can’t get out of bed in the morning, or you get up and you have to go forward,” said Neville.
Brian spent his last night at Texas Fire Station in Cockeysville. It was the end of a 7-year career as a Baltimore County firefighter.
A memorial in his name sits outside station 17, where Brian’s death has left a lasting impact.
“You think about it when somebody’s late getting out of bed. Are they okay?,” said Baltimore County Fire Department Lt. Byron Welker.
Friday, for the 32nd year, Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens will give pause to remember Brian, and Maryland’s other fallen heroes.
Fallen Heroes Day shines a light on public service men and women.
“It’s our way of saying thank you for the sacrifice they made, and honoring their families,” Lt. Welker said. “It’s not just about them, it’s also about their families.”
Families that are clinging to memories of their heroes, who served until their final day.