Firefighters from the Big Bear City, Big Bear Lake and San Bernardino County Fire Departments joined with members of CalFire and the U.S. Forest Service, as well as representatives of the California Highway Patrol and the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station yesterday, for a special dedication ceremony at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on the North Shore. The special event was to unveil two new additions to the church’s memorial walk, which honors each branch of the military; the two new brass plaques are now in place to recognize fallen firefighters and law enforcement personnel. The memorial walkway was first a dream of Colonel Richard Speedman of Baldwin Lake who, along with Father Mike Krelovich and parishioners of St. Joseph’s, made the tribute possible. Yesterday’s dedication, during which Father Mike explained that the memorials are intended to help friends and family of those who have served by offering a peaceful place to pay tribute, also included Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis on the history of ringing the firefighter’s bell, and Forest Service Battalion Chief Betty Ashe, who rang the bell. Deputy Chief Paul Cook of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department offered his appreciation for the memorial on behalf of law enforcement and CalFire Chief Mary Stock, also a parishioner of St. Joseph’s, was also on hand to thank those involved for including firefighters in the memorial. The June 28 ceremony, which included well over 100 members of the community, concluded with a blessing by Father Mike and the unveiling of the new memorials at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
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