Christian Falkenhan wears a fire uniform to celebrate his father, as he receives the highest award given by the Baltimore County Fire Department. The Medal of Honor was accepted by Mark Falkenhan's wife, Gladys.
"He didn't do this for recognition. He did it to help his community. That's all he ever wanted to do. He wasn't looking for recognition," said Stephen Hardesty, a family friend.
Mark Falkenhan spent his career putting lives before his own, rising to chief in Middle River, becoming an instructor in fire safety for the U.S. Secret Service, and then moving into the role of volunteer in Lutherville.
Mark was wearing that uniform on January 19th when he became trapped inside a Hillendale apartment.
"… for one who risked his life for others and ended up losing the gamble," said Baltimore Co. Executive Kevin Kamenetz. "We resolve to follow his example when we encounter the challenges and risks that inevitably wait for us in the months and years ahead," he said.
After two months, Dennis Fulton is able to get back on the fire truck.
He was Mark's partner that night; it was a bittersweet moment as he accepted his own award. The good in all of this, Mark's death has created a larger family.
"The boys, right from the beginning, have been in the fire house. We've celebrated a birthday for one of them there already. They come and ride with us. We basically feel we have 80 uncles for the boys," said Fulton.
Eighty uncles will never replace one father. But the strength and courage Mark's wife had to hug every honored member of Lutherville Volunteer Fire Company shows they are not standing alone.
The Medal of Honor is not awarded often; the last time was nearly a decade ago.