Members of the Salt River Fire Department Honor Guard.

SRFD Honor Guard Paying Its Respects

By Ray Martinez
Au-Authm Action News

On Sunday, October 19, the 31st Annual Professional Fire Fighters Association Memorial Service took place. This important event is conducted to honor the memory of all the fallen firefighters in the past year. This year’s ceremony took place at the Firefighters Bell Tower at the Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery, 2300 W. Van Buren in Phoenix.

The Salt River Fire Department was honored to receive a request to send its honor guard to take part in this wonderful tribute. The SRFD Honor Guard sent seven of its 10 members to this event. The SRFD also provided a fire apparatus to transport the honor guard to make sure that our Community was properly represented.

Some of the honor guard’s newest members wanted to express what it means to them to take part in this important event and express the pride they feel at being an SRFD Honor Guard member. “Being a part of the Salt River [Fire Department] Honor Guard is an absolute privilege and honor,” said firefighter Eliseo Carrillo. “A level of gratitude is felt as I serve along a small group of my extended fire family. It allows me to carry on a tradition within the fire service that is much larger than I am. Serving on the honor guard also gives me an opportunity to display a sense of pride to our current and future fire brothers and sisters, which will remain with me throughout my career at Salt River Fire Department.”

Firefighter/engineer Leif Lake said, “To me, being in the honor guard is a way to embrace and celebrate the history and tradition of the fire service. Being of service to others is rewarding work, and those of us who have chosen to do so are proud that we have the opportunity to represent the Salt River Fire Department and the Community. It was also an honor to be a part of the PFFA Memorial Service, to recognize and remember [the] Arizona firefighters [who] have given their lives serving others. To be a part of all the tradition, including the bagpipes and drums, the bells and the reading of names (hearing SRFD Fire Chief Frank Molina’s name read), was all a very moving experience. To be able to meet and share the experience with brother and sister firefighters from around the state was also rewarding.”

“To me, being a part of the SRFD Honor Guard is not just a privilege, but it is a huge honor,” said firefighter Xavier Martinez. “I’m proud to be able to not only represent my Community, but also to take part in preserving the traditions of the fire service. Being present for the fallen firefighters ceremony was a very humbling experience. Taking part in helping to maintain the legacy of all the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice while doing the job I love was an unforgettable experience. To be able to share this important day of remembrance for our fallen brothers and sisters with our extended fire family from around the Valley was something I won’t soon forget.”

“I feel very privileged and honored to be a part of the SRFD Honor Guard. From starting out my career as a Salt River Fire Explorer, to presently being able to represent the Community in this capacity, it gives me a huge sense of pride,” said SRFD Honor Guard Commander and firefighter Ray C. Martinez.

The distinction of the SRFD Honor Guard is growing in the Community as well as around the Valley. This is due in part to the support it receives from the Community, but also from the dedicated members who take pride in representing the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community when given any opportunity to do so.

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