WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW) -- A crowd gathered at the Firefighters Memorial in Wisconsin Rapids Saturday afternoon to honor fire men and women who lost their lives on duty.
A bell rang 280 times today in honor of each Wisconsin firefighter who was killed on the job.
"They're not forgotten," said Mike Miller, the president of the Wisconsin State Firefighter's Memorial. "We appreciate all that they've given and all that they've done."
Every year, firefighters, family and friends gather for the state Firefighter's Final Alarm and Roll Call Ceremony.
"Today we remember all of those names and added some more to that wall. Including one of my fellow coworkers, Denise Waterman."
Firefighters say the ceremony stirs up painful emotions.
"There's 280 names, 280 souls on that wall," explained Steve Quam who retired from the Milwaukee Fire Department. "And they've left behind family members."
This year, eleven names were added to the ceremony. Two were killed this year. Others died decades ago and were recently recognized.
Firefighters say it is difficult to keep track of the on-duty deaths that happened years ago.
Although the ceremony is difficult, firefighters and family member say it helps them grow stronger.
"We're always a team. You can't get stuff done alone. You need to be able to count on others," said Quam. "And that's what this is all about."
A Wausau family is turning their tragedy into hope for anyone struggling with thoughts of suicide.
1908 Grand Avenue, Wausau, WI 54403
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