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Jacksonville firefighters add 3 names to memorial wall at annual remembrance ceremony

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department added the names of three firefighters who died in the line of duty this year to its Fallen Firefighter Memorial during an emotional ceremony Wednesday at Fire Station 1 on Liberty Street.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department added the names of three firefighters who died in the line of duty this year to its Fallen Firefighter Memorial during an emotional ceremony Wednesday at Fire Station 1 on Liberty Street.

The names of Engineer Michael Freeland, Lt. Mario Moya and Capt. Thomas Barber were added to the wall, unveiled by their mothers and wives, who rang the bell as their names were called.

“This was an honor. It was actually a privilege to be here and just to know that my son was part of a family and an organization of men and women that are just incredible,” said Terona Feacher, Freeland’s mother.

Freeland, 36, died from an aneurysm while working a crash. Moya, 51, died from COVID-19 and Barber, 51, died within 24 hours of his last service call, although there was no word on the cause.

“Although the losses are difficult and painful, the surviving family members can be proud knowing that their loved ones are part of a very small fraternity who upheld the oath they took and laid down their life in service to others,” JFRD Chief Keith Powers said.

The wall now holds 25 names with the three added Wednesday.

Feacher smiled during the ceremony, saying that’s what her son would have wanted her to do.

“Looking at the smile on his picture, so I had to mimic that to carry on his legacy,” Feacher said. “Just the stories and the outpouring of love that I’ve seen from the community and people beyond that I’ve never even known. It was just amazing to know that he touched so many people in so many ways and I am forever grateful for that.”

In an emotional tribute to Freeland, his friend and brother in JFRD, Engineer John Grissett, shared how he was a good person, always willing to help.

“As a member of the JFRD and a first responder, seeing all my brothers in blue, it gives me strength,” Grissett said. “I love him and I miss him.”

JFRD also unveiled a new bronze life-sized statue of a firefighter, holding a fallen firefighter’s helmet, and an eternal flame at the memorial area. The base of the eternal flame features words like “service” to remember the firefighters’ commitment.

Also during the ceremony, Mayor Lenny Curry declared the day Fallen Firefighter Memorial Day in the city.


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