Firefighters from the Niles Fire Department gathered at the fire station Monday to honor fallen firefighters.
Among those attending were retired firefighters, including former fire chief Chuck Semple, as well as members of the community.
''This service is in honor of families that have served the city so well for so many years,'' said Captain Todd Thomas.
Photos by Kathleen Evanoff / The Niles Times
The Niles Fire Department held its annual memorial service Monday. Pictured saluting the flag from left are: Captain Todd Thomas, Chief Gary Brown and the Rev. David Burman of the Niles First Baptist Church.
Fire Chief Gary Brown also welcomed guests and explained to those in attendance that the plaques usually on display that named fallen and retired firefighters were being repaired and would soon be on display at the station.
''My hardest job is moving someone from the retired list to the deceased list,'' Brown said.
A prayer was offered by the Rev. David Burman of the Niles First Baptist Church. Firefighter Mike Monteforte read the story of the Maltese Cross, the story of the first firefighters and how the symbol came to represent protection and is the firefighters badge of honor.
Following readings of ''Last Alarm'' and ''Fallen Firefighter,'' firefighter Jory Raymer read the list of names of each fallen firefighter honored by the service while firefighter Jerry Kirkwood rang the fire station bell once for each name. As the names were read, photos of each firefighter were displayed on a screen. Those named were: Chief Alexis Orr, 1927; Captain John W. Davis, 1938; Captain Jack Raftry, 1941; Firefighter Joseph Gerald, 1953; Captain Alvin McGowan, 1960; Captain Reese Williams, 1963; Chief George Neiss, 1965; Chief James Swauger, 1966; Firefighter John Ditallo; Captain Melvin Reinhart, 1968; Firefighter Raymond Mullen, 1972; Firefighter George Barker, 1976; Firefighter Fred Hillman, 1979; Captain Joseph Tomkinson, 1979; Lieutenant Louis Disko, 1984; Chief Edward Watkins, 1984; Captain James Snelus, 1984; Firefighter John Morrison, 1986; Firefighter Charles Kramer, 1986; Firefighter Ed McCormick, 1994; Firefighter Richard Currie, 1994; Firefighter Jay Shelar, 1997; Lieutenant Russell Naples, 1998; Lieutenant Joseph DeMalio, 2000; Firefighter Sollie Brown, 2004; Chief William Sullivan, 2008; Lieutenant Kim Biery, 2008; Captain James Benedict, 2009; Firefighter Leroy Stabile, 2011; and Firefighter Arnold Danes, 2012.
Following the reading of the names, The Fireman's Prayer was recited by Lt. Brian Lowrie.
''The department has been holding this service as long as there has been a fire department,'' Brown said.
Citing that the service was held at the same time as the American Legion Post 106 service at Niles City Cemetery, Brown said the time of the firefighters' service would be changed next year to avoid a future conflict.