Captain Tim Smith, Victim of Violence: His Last Roll Call
Attendees were invited to share memories of Captain Smith. [Photo provide by Aurora Studebaker.]
Diana Totten Public Information Officer for Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue said, “He was an awesome guy…The service shows the honor we wanted to give him.”
An estimated 25 to 30 fire departments as well as ambulance companies and technical rescue volunteers sent squads of representatives. Processions of vehicles rolled towards the River Lodge in Fortuna in Smith’s honor.“The streets were closed off,” described Totten. “There were a lot of people standing with their hand on their heart. The Fortuna chief was with the family of Timmy. It was just one giant, solid line of emergency vehicles. Most had their lights on but no sirens.”
A huge American flag few over the incoming vehicles.
“We marched in a single file line,” Totten said. “As we entered the River Lodge, Timmy’s family and friends were already there. It was standing room only.”According to Totten, the service was a traditional firefighter’s service. “The bells were rung, an honor guard with white gloves marched carrying fire axes and bagpipes were played,” she said. “There were several speakers.” Totten described a very moving bell ceremony. “The bell is rung three times,” she said. “Sirens sounded. Then there was radio call from the command center and they called Tim’s number. After they call Tim’s number several times, they come on the radio and say thank you and they say, ‘We’ll answer the calls from now on. You rest.”
(You can see and hear it below.)
“We live with pagers and radios,” Totten explained. “[Our] families know what we go through. We get up in the middle of dinner and the middle of the night. We get up in the middle of birthday parties and the middle of shopping trips. Someone’s emergency takes precedence. When Tim doesn’t answer the last call, it is time for us to step up and try and fill his boots.”
According to Totten, Smith’s family was given his badge, his number was retired, and his helmet was given to the family.
Totten said that firefighters like Smith are there to help their neighbors. “The bottom line is we are very honored to be part of a bigger world and help our communities. People like Tim are those who go way beyond the call of duty.”
Captain Tim Smith’s memorial program. [Photo by Sherry Shepherd]