According to the US Fire Administration’s web site, Lt. John Echternach Jr. of the Boones Mill Volunteer Fire Department became the 46th LODD in the United States and the 3rd from Virginia in 2012 (complete list HERE).
His memorial service was held yesterday in Boones Mill.
Lt. Echternach was responding to a report of a house fire on the evening of June 29th as a severe storm (derecho) tore through SW Virginia. While enroute to the station, John came across a vehicle, in the middle of the road; that a tree had fallen across. He stopped to assist the occupants when a second tree fell and struck him. He was pronounced dead at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Many of our Fire Service careers started in Franklin County as volunteers. I started as a member of the Burnt Chimney VFD while my Lt. (George Perdue) served many years in Scruggs.
Several of our members also hold the honorable distinction of being “Life Members” of the Boones Mill Volunteer Fire Department. Just here at Lucky #13, on A-Shift; Captain Lynn Flora and Lt. Barry Ferguson served with Boones Mill.
They actually took our rig (along with Lt. Steve Jordan, another past member of Boones Mill) and covered the Boones Mill Station during the Memorial Service yesterday.
The picture above (left) is our Honor Guard folding the flag during the service. The honor Guard is made up of members from Roanoke Fire/EMS, Salem Fire/EMS and Roanoke County Fire / Rescue. These Brothers and Sisters ALWAYS do a fantastic job and I’ve heard nothing but good things from yesterdays service.
I would list their names, but they have none. They wear no Rank designation nor name plates. One of the Captains explained to me that when the Honor Guard is working “we don’t have a name, we don’t have a face .. we don’t exist as individuals. It’s not about us, it’s about that family and seeing that they are taken care of”.
WOW! I’d also like to share with you a tribute that Steve Mills wrote in honor of Lt. Echternach. I believe Steve has served with the Boones Mill VFD for at least 30 years now. His tribute was published in our local paper, The Roanoke Times.
“Today we bid farewell to a hero, Lt. John L. Echternach Jr., of the Boones Mill Volunteer Fire Department.
John never piloted a disabled jetliner to safe landing in the Hudson River, nor did he perform a daring rescue of a wounded comrade while under enemy fire.
There will be no books written about John, and his life’s story won’t be gloried on the silver screen.
Slight in stature, John didn’t look like a hero, and his quiet and unassuming personality didn’t suggest that he was, either. But John Echternach personified the unsung hero who resides in all of us, yet all too seldom rises to the surface.”
Read the entire Tribute by clicking HERE .
Related links … Firefighter always answered the call (with photo gallery)
Stay SAFE and in House!
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