Waxahachie Fire Dept. honors former firefighter Jon Wilson with memorial and badge
On Thursday morning, the sun shined bright as the memorial ceremony began in honor of former Firemen Capt. Jon Wilson at Waxahachie Fire Station 1, recognizing him as a Line of Duty Death.
Firemen gathered around in their white uniforms to honor their fellow brother through service. Wilson's wife, Darla, and their two sons, Luke and Kaleb Wilson, were also present.
The ceremony began promptly at 9 a.m., as Fire Chaplin Bruce Zimmerman led the group into prayer. Fire Chief Ricky Boyd then took over and said a few words.
"We do appreciate you coming out here today again to honor Jon. We're here today to recognize Captain Jon Wilson's passing in the line ... On average, 100 firefighters die in the line of duty every year," Boyd said. "Every firefighter dedicates their life to serving others, and as we do so, we face many dangers. Some of the dangers we face are very obvious, intense heat, smoke and fires, or speeding cars that pass by in accident scenes. And others are more convert and show up over time, such as distress that we face ... in Jon's case, cancer."
Wilson served the city of Waxahachie for 20 years, and retired a year ago on April 1, 2020. He soon passed a few months later on Aug. 9, 2020.
"He was a man of integrity. He had great leadership. He provided a great example to everybody he was around. He was quick with a joke and a good story ... He faced his cancer with determination and strength and through all of the sickness and all of the treatments that he faced, he professed over and over again about how God had blessed him and how Jesus loved him and how Jesus saved him," Boyd continued. "Nothing can take the place of those that have left us all too soon ... may their legacy live on, as we continue to serve the citizens of this great city. With that, I hereby dedicate this plaque to the Waxahachie Fire-Rescue LODD Memorial."
Boyd hopes Wilson's plaque will be the last added to the memorial.
The Firefighter Memorial contains plaques of other fallen men in service, including Henry Erby who died on Nov. 11, 1900; Tom Hatfield who died on Aug. 1, 1924; and Herman “Ricky” Tidwell who died on Jan. 8, 1983.
Ed Konick, president of the Firefighter Association, then took to the stage with Fireman Travis Wade.
"Good morning. Thank you all for coming. The Waxahachie Firefighter Association Local 3010 is part of an international association that includes professional departments from all over of the United States. Every firefighter that is a part of this organization has support from his brothers and sisters," Konick began. "Firefighters are increasingly at risk to heart disease, cancer and on-the-job hazards. We accept that, but we continue to fight against these obstacles for the greater good. Since the inception of the association of firefighters in 1918, our organization has recognized 8,427 in the line of duty deaths. We honor our fallen by placing their names on a memorial located in Colorado Springs every year, with an average of 200 names added every year. This year in September, the international will add 224; among those added this year will be one of our own. Cancer comes from many different things, to firefighters it comes in the unburnt particles after a construction fire. Jon was recognized as the line of duty death this year by the International Association of Firefighters because of this hazard. Today we want to honor the service he provided to his community, by adding him to our wall and to present his family with a symbol of remembrance from the international."
Wade then presented the Martin E. Pearce Line of Duty Death Medal of Honor from the International Association of Firefighters to Darla.
The ceremony then closed with a moment of silence led by Chief Boyd, remembering those who have given their lives to the fire service, emphasizing Wilson.
"That concludes our pre-ceremony. Again, I appreciate each of you for coming here this morning and honoring Jon and his family and the service that he provided here in Waxahachie. I do want to take a minute to thank the members of Station 1 and also Station 2 A that revamped our memorial area."