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Roadway signs will honor county’s fallen firefighters 

Roadway signs will honor county’s fallen firefighters 

October 3, 2017

Media Contacts:                                                                                                                      
Deidre McCabe, Director of Strategic Planning and Communications, 410-313-4023               
Brad Tanner, Department of Fire and Rescue Services, 410-313-0841 

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman is moving ahead with installing two roadway signs honoring five fire service members who died in the line of duty. Kittleman unveiled the signs during the county’s second annual Honor and Remembrance Ceremony for Fire and EMS Services held this past Sunday, October 1. 

The signs will honor Captain Charles Ditch and Lt. Joseph Stigler of the Ellicott City Volunteer Fire Department (Ellicott City VFD) who died as a result of a December 25, 1953 house fire and firefighters Robert Wade Clary, Raymond H. Mills and William Brightwell who died from injuries sustained during a July 20, 1969 crash of their Lisbon Volunteer Fire Company (Lisbon VFC) fire engine. Clary and Mills died that day and Brightwell never fully recovered, dying nearly three years later. 

The sign honoring the fire personnel from the Ellicott City VFD will be posted in the 4000 block of Old Columbia Pike and the sign for the personnel from the Lisbon VFC will be installed on Old Frederick Road near the intersection of Forsythe Road. Both signs are expected to be erected later this month. 

“These brave men made the ultimate sacrifice in the service to the people of Howard County,” said Kittleman. “We must never forget their selfless acts which is why we are unveiling these road signs. This recognition is long overdue.”

Sunday’s ceremony, held at the Crest Lawn Memorial Gardens’ Garden of Valor, honored seven county residents who died in the line of duty. Also honored were Donald G. Kopp, a Baltimore City firefighter and Howard County resident who died March 25, 1979, and Erik P. Steciak, a West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department paramedic who died in a crash while responding to a January 6, 2015 call. Steciak was working as a paid EMS provider for the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Department in Harford County.

“These firefighters gave their lives protecting their communities,” said Fire Chief John S. Butler. “Although our department honors them at an annual ceremony, it brings us great pride to see them recognized publicly with the placement of these signs.”