LEONARDTOWN, Md.– After a year without a memorial service, the Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department (LVFD) resumed its tradition by hosting its memorial dedication on May 17, 2021.

“This is the foundation of our fire department,” former president and lifetime member Roger Mattingly said. “To see this [memorial service] finished has been a big a big deal for me.”

Mattingly may have enjoyed this event more because of how hard it was to uphold this tradition. LVFD has only hosted two memorial services because of various issues in the past 11 years. Before this year, LFVD held its first service for a long time in 2019.

Before Mattingly became head of the planning committee, the department struggled to finish this project for commitment issues. Since he started leading the committee, they progressively found more dedicated members that can help him complete this project.

“It has been very important to uphold this tradition. We have been working on this for almost 11 years,” Mattingly said. “We have had committees come together, and then, for one reason or another, it would be a drop-off. This time we had some good dedicated people that were making this happen.”

During the event, the families and co-workers of the firefighters whose names were ingrained into the Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department monument honored them. As a result, there were close to 100 people honored in the ceremony. The department honored them by ringing the bell to represent their last call and reading different bible scriptures to represent their legacies.

“All of these deceased members gave a lot of their time. Anybody that’s on the memorial had to have a minimum of 10 years of active service with our fire department,” Mattingly said. “It’s not somebody who would join in for a year or two. These people were dedicated to this community, this fire department, and this county. It’s quite prestigious.”

Although the department had to scale down the event, they invited the family of the deceased firefighters and other members of the department to honor their memories.

“We had all the charter members. We had auxiliary members. Also, any of the deceased members on [the monument] we contacted their family to make sure all of these people were invited to the memorial,” Mattingly said.

Additionally, the department held a truck dedication on the same day for its longest-living member, Kennedy Abell, because of his many years of service. The memorial would not be possible without Abell.

“Kennedy Abell has been here for 77 years. He was chairman of the committee, and he was the designer of the monument,” Mattingly said. “He had it [his monument idea] drawn on a piece of paper, and we thought it was the perfect thing. We knew it could sit at our place perfectly.”

The department posted videos of the events for those who could not make it to the ceremony on their Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary Facebook account.

You can watch the memorial dedication by clicking HERE. You can check out the truck dedication to Kennedy Abell by clicking HERE.

To contact Tony and the rest of our news desk, email news@thebaynet.com