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President Wells' Speech From Annual CCCFPD Memorial Service

cccfpd_memorialwallTo those that were not in attendance at today's memorial service in Concord at the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Training Division, we would like to share President Wells' speech:

On behalf of the members of Local 1230 I would like to thank you for coming to this memorial service to join us as we remember our fallen firefighters. I would like to extend a special thanks to the Local 1230 Honor Guard for their participation in this service and for the many other services they provide to members of our profession both past and present.

This is the sixth year that we’ve held these services and still the memories of the tragic events that lead to the creation of this memorial wall, have not been forgotten.

I still remember that early morning phone call from OB, Chief Obrien and his words, "we lost two tonight." I still remember arriving at Carolyn Desmond’s house early that morning as part of the notification team, and the look on her face as she opened the door with their son Tyler in her arms, knowing immediately why we were there so early that morning.

I remember arriving at Pinole Fire Station 73 a few hours after the fire and seeing all the crews huddled up in threes and Engineer Tony Miller standing alone as the only survivor of E70.

I also remember all the events that followed as we planned their memorial services. I remember the time I shared with Matt Burton in the recruit academy and the calls I ran with Scott Desmond. I also have vivid memories of John Nunes as he worked tirelessly with crews, on preparing the hose bed of Engine 70 for transporting Matt Burton's coffin to his burial site while at Station 10.

Ironically, we did the same thing for John as he died tragically, two years later.

As I promised then, we will continue to stay close to the families and keep the stories of their loved ones alive. We will continue to remember the passion of Mike Impastato and his love for this union. I remember Kent Leverton and his rope rescue skills as we worked to recover the bodies of those killed and injured at the Tosco refinery. I remember Captain Ferrante and his tough outer shell but passion "for the people." I reflect back on Captain John Nunes and his expertise in personal protective gear and his work to assure we had the best protective equipment.

I remember Dave Gehling and his passion for EMS and the lists he was famous for making. I remember Jim Capra as he fought his illness and Terry Warners stories and unusual eating habits. I have not had the opportunity to work with all the people whose names are on this wall, but I have heard many of their stories. There’s a picture on the wall at Station 1 of firefighters who shaved their heads in support of Rene Penaloza’s fight with cancer. Also we remember John Fields whose memorial plaques sits in front of Pittsburg Fire Station 87 which is now closed.

Our memories of those who have paid the ultimate price for this community will live into eternity. This wall and this memorial service will assure that happens.

As Union President, I have had the opportunity to escort many of the families of our fallen to the IAFF Memorial wall in Colorado Springs and to the California Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Sacramento as our heroes names were placed on those walls along with others. I encourage all of you to travel to Colorado Springs and Sacramento to witness the annual ceremonies honoring the names of those on the wall as they add new names.

Again, thank you Chief, staff, and all those who maintain this wall and who continue this memorial service. Thank all of you for coming.

To my fellow Firefighters,

Stay safe and watch each other’s back. With the funding shortages that have depleted our resources and staffing; it is paramount that we stick together, and keep an eye on each other, to make sure we all go home safe to our families when our shift is over and avoid adding any more names to this wall!

God bless each and every one of you.