CPF District 3 represents the counties of Del Norte, Siskiyou, Modoc, Humboldt, Trinity, Shasta, Lassen, Mendocino, Tehama, Plumas, Lake, Glenn, Butte, Colusa, Sutter, Yuba, Sierra, Yolo, Placer, Sacramento, El Dorado, San Joaquin, Amador, Calaveras, Alpine, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Mono, Merced, Mariposa, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, Fresno, Kings, Madera, Nevada, Tulare and Inyo.
Local 652 Member Works to Honor Fallen Brothers
From the time he’d joined his fire department’s honor guard, Humboldt Bay Fire Engineer David Terry had heard the story: A Eureka firefighter from the 1930s had been thrown off his rig and killed while on duty.
Since the Eureka Fire Department had been consolidated into Humboldt Bay, nobody knew the details of the story … or whether it was even true. Terry – a member of Humboldt Bay Local 652 – decided to find out.
Because of David Terry’s curiosity, five long-deceased members of the Eureka Fire Department are now a part of the California Firefighters Memorial, etched into eternity for their sacrifice in the line of duty. Eureka Firefighter Leonard Winslow was honored alongside George Davis, Raymond Somma, Adolph Oss and Robert McGillivray at this year’s California Firefighters Memorial Ceremony in Sacramento.
“The notion of respecting our retirees and the people who came before is important to all of us,” Terry said. “I just wanted to make sure that they got the recognition they deserved.”
Terry’s journey began with the search for Winslow, whose career as a firefighter was cut short in December of 1934 at the young age of 23 when his truck was struck by another vehicle. Poring through old departmental log books, city historical archives and talking with retirees, he found information, obituaries and other information documenting the line of duty deaths of Davis, Somma, Oss and McGillivray. The last name he confirmed was that of Winslow
“It was like being a private investigator,” Terry recalled. I was going through old micro fiche, oral histories, everything.”
Terry didn’t stop with tracking down the names. He got on the phone and tracked down family members, including Winslow’s surviving niece. Edyth Olsen, the daughter of Adolph Oss, was overcome with emotion when Terry called to tell her that her father – who died in 1964 – would be added to the Memorial Wall.
“I went through boxes and boxes of Kleenex,” Olsen said. “I didn’t get as much time as I’d like to have had with my father. This, in a way, gave me back his memory.”
For his part, Terry insists he is just honoring the values and spirit of the profession. “No matter how long it’s been, if you’re a firefighter, you’re part of the family,” he said. I’m honored to give these men, and their families, the recognition they’re due.”