Braving temperatures in the low 30s, a crowd of local emergency responders, elected officials and members of the public joined family members Jan. 4 to honor fallen responders who lost their lives in the line of duty.Joe Fowler, engineer with the Harrisburg Volunteer Fire Department, led the Cabarrus County Firemen’s Association color guard as they presented the state and national flags to begin the dedication ceremony.The monument – located at Church Street and Corban Avenue in Concord – has one plaque, facing Corban Avenue, engraved with the names of the four fallen volunteer firefighters: • Rhett Gulledge, Harrisburg Volunteer Fire Department, who died June 18, 1973, of a heart attack after fighting a fire and being transported to the hospital with chest pains the previous day.• Brian K. Rodgers, Poplar Tent Volunteer Fire Department, who died Aug. 20, 1987, after being hit by a vehicle at a fire scene.• Josh Earley, Harrisburg Volunteer Fire Department, who died March 6, 2002, of injuries sustained while fighting a house fire two days earlier.• James E. Arthur, Cold Water Volunteer Fire Department, who died Feb. 11, 2008, of injuries sustained in an automobile accident while he was driving to a fire call.Emergency responder officials spoke of the dedication and sacrifice embodied by the fallen firefighters and by all those who serve the community. Liz Poole, chairwoman of the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners, thanked all responders for their service. Speaking to the honorees’ families, Poole said, “I hope you find peace and honor in this memorial to your loved ones. Thank you.”U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., said, “First responders all over Cabarrus County do a great job, and ‘thank you’ isn’t enough. Please remember those who have fallen, and keep those who are still serving in your prayers.”The honor guard placed a wreath of red and white roses beside the monument before each honoree’s name was read aloud. When their loved one’s name was read, members of each family placed a red rose on top of the monument. Then a bell was rung, once for each of the fallen.To end the service, Todd Jones, captain of Ladder Company No. 7 of the Concord Department of Fire and Life Safety, playing taps and “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes as the color guard departed.Terri Arthur, mother of honoree James E. Arthur, said she was moved by the ceremony.“It was a wonderful memory of those who have been lost,” she said. “To have this in our county was wonderful. It is an honor to have this beautiful monument in Concord. “For (the community) to think as much of our individual loss and keep us in their hearts, it is an honor to me, for them to remember my son year-round in this way.”
Friday, Jan. 10, 2014
Cabarrus County community dedicates memorial to fallen emergency responders
Marty Price is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at email@example.com.
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