Fallen Hereos Day honors those who died in the line of duty

TIMONIUM, Md. - Four men who paid the ultimate price while trying to protect others were honored Friday as part of the 29th annual Fallen Heroes Day commemoration.

SEE: PHOTOS: Fallen Heroes Day

The ceremony, held at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium, recognized those who died in the line of duty since May 2013. Those honored this year included two firefighters, a police officer and a marine rescue volunteer.

Those honored were:

Firefighter/EMT Gene Kirchner:    The 25-year-old member of the Reisterstown Volunteer Fire Company, died on May 2, 2013, a little more than a week after he was injured trying to rescue residents trapped in a house fire on Hanover Road in Reisterstown. He had been an active member of the volunteer station for nine years and had responded to around 3,000 calls at the time of his death.

Officer Jason Schneider:   The Baltimore County police officer, was shot and killed on Aug. 28, 2013, while serving a warrant in Catonsville. Schneider served 13 years in local law enforcement and 10 years in the special tactical unit of the Baltimore County Police department, where he served as one of the unit's leaders.

Fire/Police Captain David Barr Jr.,: The Community Fire Company of Perryville member died Nov. 7, 2013, after he was struck by a vehicle while directing traffic at an accident scene.

Lt. James D. Brooks Sr.: The Prince George’s County Volunteer Marine Fire Rescue member died Jan. 15 of cardiac arrest as he secured boats in preparation for expected severe winter weather.

David Barr's son sums up the event with five words.

"I wish I wasn't here," said John Barr.   

His daughter-in-law tried to save his life.

"I still have a lot of anger, a lot of frustration.  I feel like we did what we could that day.  Everybody did what we were trained to do," said Rachel Barr.

Among those that spoke at the ceremony Friday was Gladys Falkenhan. Her husband, Mark, a volunteer firefighter with the Lutherville Volunteer Fire Department, died on Jan. 19, 2011 while helping battle a four-alarm apartment fire.

Mark Falkenhan had also served as a career paramedic with the Baltimore County Fire Department and an instructor for the Secret Service.

"Our family has learned to live our new life.  I won't say normal life because it's no where near normal, it's just new," said Gladys Falkenhan, the widow of Mark Falkenhan, who became trapped inside a burning apartment building.     

"Most importantly, and by far the hardest, I'm learning to be mom and dad to my two amazing boys who are now 9 and 18," said Falkenhan.   

A wreath was placed as hearts and minds try to mend.  The ceremony at Dulaney Valley is the only statewide service in the nation to bring together all segments of the public safety community.



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