2017 FALLEN HEROES DAY CEREMONY; A statewide tribute to the men and women of the public safety community

* Ceremony is Friday, May 5 at 1:00 p.m. at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens; 200 East Padonia Road, Timonium, MD 21093.

*Fallen Heroes Day is the only statewide ceremony in the nation that brings together all segments of the public safety community. The observance salutes police and correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical and rescue personnel who risk their lives every day to protect the citizens of Maryland. This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the annual ceremony.

*The 2017 ceremony will honor Prince George’s County Firefighter-Paramedic Lieutenant John Ulmschneider, who died just weeks before the 2016 ceremony. On April 15, 2016, Firefighter/PM Lieutenant Ulmschneider and another medic responded to a welfare call at the home of a man suspected to be suffering from a medical emergency. When there was no answer at the door, forcible entry was used. The occupant of the home shot at the medics, mortally wounding 37-year-old Firefighter/PM Lieutenant Ulmschneider, a 13-year member of the Prince George’s Fire/EMS Department.

*During the ceremony, the family of Firefighter/PM Lieutenant Ulmschneider will be presented with a replica of the Fallen Heroes Memorial and a resolution from the Maryland General Assembly.

*Note that Montgomery County firefighter Charles “Rick” Gentilcore, who died in the line of duty on April 7, 2017, will be recognized at this year’s Fallen Heroes Day ceremony, but will be honored at the 2018 observance. Firefighter Gentilcore was a 23-year veteran of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue service
*Keeping with tradition, Governor Larry Hogan has issued a proclamation declaring May 5, 2017 as Fallen Heroes Day in Maryland and has ordered flags flown at half-staff at the State House and all state facilities.

*2000 attendees are expected including survivor families, friends, and leaders of the public safety community. The ceremony is open to the public.

*The ceremony will open with a procession of 25 honor guard units from across the state, mounted units and motorcycle police.

*Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr., Senior Advisor to the Governor, will give memorial addresses. Kai Jackson, veteran journalist and Fox 45 News anchor will be the keynote speaker.

*Princella Hunter, the mother of Fallen Hero Trooper First Class Shaft Hunter, who was honored at the 2012 Fallen Heroes Day Ceremony, will give the Survivor’s Address.

*Additionally, one police officer and two firefighters who died in the line of duty before Fallen Heroes Day was established in 1986, will be remembered. Honored this year will be two firefighters who died in the1955 Westgate Shopping Center fire on Old Edmondson Ave. in Catonsville. The multi-alarm fire began right after midnight on the morning of Feb. 7, 1955. The two Baltimore County firefighters who lost their lives in that fire were Captain Carl S. Dill and Firefighter William J. Miller, Station 4 (Catonsville). Miller was an 18-year veteran and Dill a 29-year veteran of the Dept. These tragic deaths marked the first time in the history of Baltimore County’s paid fire dept. that firefighters were killed fighting a fire. Current firefighters from Station 4 (Catonsville) will accept the honor on behalf of their lost brethren.

*The police officer remembered will be Maryland State Trooper Gregg A. Presbury who died on December 17, 1977. Trooper Presbury succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained while conducting a traffic stop on Route 30, near Glen Burnie, five days earlier. During the traffic stop, Trooper Presbury radioed for backup. Before backup arrived, the suspect shot the trooper. Despite being wounded he was able to return fire and wounded the suspect. Attending the ceremony will be his son, Gregg Presbury, Jr. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Trooper Presbury’s death.

*Following memorial addresses, there will be a presentation to the families of the fallen, and a wreath laying at the Fallen Heroes Memorial.

*The ceremony will conclude with the children of the fallen heroes placing a wreath at the memorial wall, followed by a 21-gun salute, and Taps.

* Currently, 70 members of the public safety community are buried at the Fallen Heroes Memorial. Including this year’s observance, a total of 176 Fallen Heroes have been honored at the annual ceremony.

*The 70-acre cemetery was purchased by John O. Mitchell, III of the family-owned Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home in Rodgers Forge/Towson, MD in 2007. The Mitchell family is proud to continue the tradition of Fallen Heroes Day.

*Location: The Fallen Heroes Memorial is located within Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, 200 East Padonia Road, Timonium, MD 21093. The observance is free and open to the public. For more information: 410-666-0490 or www.dulaneyvalley.com. Follow Fallen Heroes Day on Facebook: Honoring Fallen Heroes Dulaney Valley.