Silence: A sound that resonated in downtown Sacramento. For nearly an hour Saturday morning that was all that could be heard from the hundreds of people gathered in Capitol Park.
One by one, the names of 37 fallen firefighters were called and, one by one, the family members, friends or department representatives stood to receive a flag in honor of these men and women whose names were added this year to the nearly 1,400 names of firefighters who have already been etched into the stone of the California Firefighters Memorial.
Dating back to 1851, federal, state and local firefighters who have served for a public fire department in California and have died in the line of duty or succumbed to a job-related illness are added in a ceremony hosted by the California Fire Foundation, which unveiled the memorial in 2002.
Included with the more than three dozen names added this year was Cal Fire Capt. Cory David Iverson, who died while fighting the Thomas Fire in Ventura County last December.
“We are here to honor our fallen, 37 of our brothers and sisters who payed the ultimate price. We stand here together to honor them, but more importantly we stand here with you the families,” said Brian K. Rice, president of the California Professional Firefighters Association. “Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, we stand here for you, which is the most important mission of what of what we’re doing today.”
Both Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Beccera were in attendance.
Kristen Lindholdt accepted a flag in honor of her husband Trent Richard Lindholdt, a 20-year veteran of the Auburn City Fire Department who died in April after battling job-related cancer.
The ceremony was overwhelming, Lindholdt said, but added that she was filled with pride for her husband, as well as in the people who have loved and supported them both.
“I am so proud to be here for him. I’m so honored for him to be here,” Lindholdt said of her husband. “He earned this 100 percent. He was the best firefighter. As all of his brothers say, he was a fireman’s fireman.”
Including Iverson, five firefighters have died in the line of duty in the last year, Rice said.
“It’s very unprecedented for, us to lose that many in that span of time in incidents that were all different,” Rice said, adding that Redding fire inspector Jeremy Stoke, Cal Fire Heavy Fire Equipment Operator Braden Varney, Arrowhead Hotshots Capt. Brian Hughes and Draper, Utah, Fire Department Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett will be honored next year.