Odell With wildfire season upon us, what better time to recognize and honor those citizens who dedicate their lives to protecting the community from the dangers of fire.
On Sunday at 1 p.m., the Odell Volunteer Firefighter Department, joined by the Wy’East Fire District and Pine Grove V.F.D., will dedicate their newly refurbished memorial for fallen firefighters in downtown Odell.
“This is to bring awareness to the community of all the firefighters who have served on a volunteer basis or otherwise, and who have protected our community from danger and ensured our safety,” said Randy Mix, OVFD.
Louis Bud Mohr and John Hazlett — two Hood River Valley firefighters who lost their lives while doing their duty — will receive special recognition for their service and sacrifice.
Senator Chuck Thomsen will be a keynote speaker along with Fire Chief Greg Borton. The Oregon Honor Guard will conduct the presentation of colors.
According to Mix, the community joined together to upgrade the existing memorial, created in 2001-02 after Hazlett’s death on I-84 after returning from a fire. A new granite wall supports the memorial, replacing a degrading cement structure.
“We had many people donate funds and provide labor to get this thing rehabilitated,” said Mix. “The memorial lists our two fallen firefighters and all the people of the community who have served as volunteer firefighters but who have now passed on.”
Mix also noted that the memorial also honors those fallen firefighters who served during 9-11.
“All of these people have defended against fires, loss of life and property, and ensured people’s safety. This is our way of honoring them.”
The community is invited to attend the ceremony and to stay on for a neighborly barbecue. According to Mix, the event should run until about 4 or 5 p.m.
The following individuals and organizations donated to the project: Wy’East Fire District; Pine Grove Volunteer Fire Department; Black Dog Racing; Oregon Memorial; Bronze Craft Memorials; Gorge Electric; Platt Electric; Hood River Electric Co-Op; Peterson Brothers Construction; Hinkle Home Improvements; Donahue Construction; Accurate Concrete Cutting; Bob Husky, Idlewild Cemetery; Randy Franz; Hood River Fire Department; Hood River County Sheriff’s Office; Oregon Department of Forestry; Parkdale, West Side Fire and Pine Grove fire departments.