A captain who died in the line of duty last year while serving with the Dixon Rural Fire Protection District will be among three honored at a national firefighters memorial this weekend.
Capt. Leslie “Les” Clark was 80 years old when he died Jan. 20, 2011, after he suffered a medical emergency while responding to a reported structure fire in a tanker truck.
Clark served the Dixon Rural Fire Protection District as a volunteer firefighter for more than 20 years.
Clark along with two other Missouri firefighters to be remembered Oct. 6-7 during the 31st National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md.
The annual event brings together firefighters from across the nation to remember their fallen comrades who died in the line of duty.
In all, the names of 85 U.S. firefighters will be added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, which will be observed by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Fire Administration.
Missouri was one of 34 states that experienced line-of-duty deaths in 2011. The plaques surrounding the memorial, which was established in 1981, contain the names of more than 3,500 firefighters.
In addition to Clark, the Missouri firefighters whose names will be added to the memorial are:
• Firefighter Henry “Jay” Branscum, 32, Northeast R-IV Rural Fire Association, who died Sept. 3, 2011, after he suffered a fatal medical emergency while working at the scene of a structure fire; and
• Firefighter/Apparatus Operator Richard E. Paul, 54, Kansas City Fire Department, who died Jan. 7, 2011, after experiencing a medical emergency during the annual fire department physical examination. He was transported to a hospital in critical condition where he later died.
“The dedication and sacrifice that firefighters make in order to serve, protect and strengthen their communities is extraordinary,” said Missouri State Fire Marshal Randy Cole. “Each time they answer the call to duty, these brave men and women willingly put their own lives and safety on the line in order to ensure the safety of others. The selfless actions of these heroic firefighters will never be forgotten, and we thank their families for their service.”
In May of this year, Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Jerry Lee, Cole and firefighters from across the state honored the fallen Missouri firefighters from 2011 in a solemn ceremony at the Fire Fighters Memorial of Missouri in Kingdom City.
The names of the three firefighters were added to the Fire Fighters Line of Duty Memorial Wall commemorating Missouri firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the citizens of the state.