Hanover Fire-EMS battalion chief honored in state memorial service | News

Emergency response personnel, public officers, family and friends throughout the Commonwealth gathered to have fun the lives of 4 fallen Virginia firefighters and their brave efforts in defending their communities. Among the honorees was Lawrence J. “Jeff” Phipps Sr., a former battalion chief of Hanover Fire-EMS.

Now in its twenty fifth 12 months, the Virginia Fallen Firefighters and Memorial Service was established to honor firefighters and EMS personnel who perished in the road of responsibility.

The ceremony, held June 4 on the Richmond Raceway Complex Main Exhibition Hall, included bagpipe performances by Virginia Public Safety (VPS) Pipes and Drums, a Presentation of Colors by VPS Honor Guard and a Fire and EMS equipment show from departments all through Virginia.

Phipps was remembered with Lyndell N. Woods of the Fort Lewis Volunteer Fire Department, Todd A. Landreth of the Norfolk Airport Fire Department and Sean H. Land of the Virginia Beach Fire Department. Each fallen hero served in their departments for over 20 years.

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Hanover Fire-EMS Assistant Chief Chris Anderson accompanied the 2 sons of Phipps, Jackson and Jeffrey, in providing Phipps’ eulogy. Jeffrey, who now serves as a firefighter with Hanover Fire-EMS, shared his father’s lasting legacy and affect on pals, household, colleagues and the group he devoted his life to defending.

Following in the footsteps of his personal father who served as Henrico County firefighter, Phipps first joined Hanover’s division as a volunteer firefighter in 1985 on the age of 14. He served as an emergency communications dispatcher earlier than changing into a firefighter with the Richmond International Airport.

Returning to Hanover Fire-EMS a number of years after, he served as an assistant fireplace marshal and was finally promoted to battalion chief in October 2007, holding a number of roles equivalent to battalion chief of coaching and finally the senior battalion chief in operations.

“He was recognized for his robust command presence and understanding of firefighting techniques,” mentioned Jeffrey. “No matter what incident got here his means, he would at all times deal with it in a relaxed {and professional} method.”

Just a couple of days after his fiftieth birthday, Phipps was recognized with most cancers when he went for a colonoscopy in February 2021.

“After his prognosis, he confirmed super energy and had a robust preventing spirit,” Jeff mentioned. “Even whereas struggling tremendously and preventing most cancers, his focus by no means shifted on how he may help others.”

He turned an advocate for most cancers prevention and testing amongst firefighters, and his actions brought about different division members to detect points early sufficient earlier than changing into severe. He turned concerned with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, the place his spouse, Carolyn, continues to volunteer at the moment.

Phipps tragically misplaced his battle with most cancers on Sunday, July 18, 2021.

Jeffrey mentioned his father was well-known for his humorousness and love for uplifting others with laughter. Before his passing, he requested that an ice cream truck be current at his service so that everybody may go away the funeral with “ice cream and a smile.”

“We are striving to make sure our dad’s legacy lives on at the moment and that we proceed to coach and defend our firefighter household,” mentioned Jeff.

Brian Swann, Virginia’s Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, paid homage to the 4 males who “made the last word sacrifice” and their inspiring sense of responsibility, braveness and love for others.

“As we keep in mind those who now we have misplaced, it’s vital additionally to specific our gratitude to those that proceed to hold out the vital mission of our firefighters and EMS and their households,” Swann mentioned.

This 12 months’s keynote speaker was Chief John Prillaman of Salem Fire and EMS. He has served in his division since 1998 and as chief since 2015, was president of the Virginia Fire Chief’s Association and a hearth safety specialist in the United States Air Force.

He thanked the households for providing assist, persistence and luxury to their hero all through their troublesome profession and permitting them to serve and “make a distinction in this world.”

“They had been fathers, sons, brothers, uncles. They had been pals and neighbors,” Prillaman mentioned. “They had been somebody’s sweetheart or soul mate, they usually had been heroes to little youngsters and adults alike who regarded as much as them as they went about their enterprise.”

He mentioned everybody can actually honor their lives with the identical integrity, braveness, selflessness, love, compassion and dedication to excellence and doing all the pieces doable to guard all firefighters.

“My promise to you is to always remember,” Prillaman mentioned. “When I hear the names of those heroes, I’ll say a prayer, I could elevate a glass, however I’ll at all times keep in mind.”

From studying the significant tales of Phipps, Woods, Landreth and Land, he mentioned he found a gaggle of brave males that anybody could be proud to name a pal.

“To the households and fireplace departments represented at the moment, know that we honor you, we take care of you and we love you,” he mentioned.

State flags flown above the Virginia State Capitol had been introduced to every household in recognition of the lads’s meritorious service. A standard “Tolling of the Bell” ceremony adopted in honor of all firefighters who’ve made the last word sacrifice.


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