The primary mission of the Rochester Fire Department Honor Guard is to honor our fallen. This is accomplished by providing an honor guard at the funerals of not only current members, but retirees as well. Our role at a funeral is dictated by the family of the deceased and the traditions of the fire service. In past department funerals, the RFD Honor Guard has been involved as pallbearers, color guard (flag bearers), and sounded the "last alarm" on a ceremonial bell. The RFD Honor Guard also participates in department ceremonies and regional events. We make every effort to accommodate any request from the community.
The RFD Honor Guard was established in 2001 by Captain Eric Kerska. There are currently 18 members, all of whom are active Rochester firefighters. All their time devoted to this organization is volunteered.
The RFD Honor Guard is funded by the City of Rochester, the Rochester Fire Relief Association, and local donations.
It is customary in the fire service to sound a sequence of five bells, four times in a row, for each firefighter that dies in the line of duty. Traditionally, this cadence of twenty rings was sounded across the firehouses of the effected department. Although firehouse bells have become rare, the “four fives” continue to be the final tribute to our fallen.
Captain Peter S. Mackey July 23, 1942
Firefighter Stanley J. O'Brien December 24, 1953
Motor Operator Ambrose J. Riley December 24, 1953
Motor Operator Otis D. Ondler January 23, 1976
For more information about the Rochester Fire Department Honor Guard, please contact:
Honor Guard Sergeant at Arms Relief Association Trustee
Firefighter Mike Rybarczyk Firefighter Mike Schultz
(507) 285-8955 (507) 285-8968