The Lansing fire department held their annual memorial service today in Mount Hope Cemetery. The service commemorated eight firefighters who passed away this year including two then-active firemen, Dennis Rodeman and Stephen Babcock.
Rodeman, who was killed in a hit and run car accident in September, and Babcock who died in February, were valuable pieces of the Lansing fire department.
The ceremony gave community members a chance to honor the eight firefighters who each had a lasting impression on the department. Those impressions are what have helped the department, and the community heal.
"I think you try and focus on those positive memories and the many things that they did that were also very positive reminders," says Lansing fire chief Randy Talifarro. "Those things that make you laugh, make you smile, some things that you know that they were a big part of and that they continue to be a part of."
The speakers at the memorial service included fire chief Talifarro, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, fire commissioner Rodney Singleton, and pastor Doug Bradshaw. But it is an experience that is well worth it for all involved.
"I've been here many years recognizing fallen firefighters, and that is the right thing to do, of course. On behalf of all Lansing residents it's my honor to pay tribute to those who pay the ultimate price," says Virg Bernero.
Babcock and Rodeman will join the six other names on a callbox at Mount Hope Cemetery. The two were the only ones with the LFD at the time of their death, the other six were retired. The callbox now marks what is called the "fireman's plot" in Mount Hope.