California Firefighters Honored at Annual Memorial Ceremony

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SACRAMENTO — The 17th annual California Firefighters Memorial Ceremony is a solemn tribute to honor fallen firefighters.

The names of 34 firefighters from across the state are read aloud.

Governor Gavin Newsom called it an honor roll of heroes.

“They came from different departments. They hailed from different walks of life, but they shared, each of them the same heart of a public servant,” Newsom said. “They shared the same conviction. They shared the same bravery, and now they share this permanent place on this wall for making the ultimate sacrifice in service to our state.”

Firefighters presented flags to the families and friends of those lost in the line of duty.

Allison Stoke’s husband, Jeremy Stoke, is one of the more than 1,400 names now inscribed in stone.

“It doesn’t just mean a lot to us who have lost,” Stoke said. “It means a lot to everyone that is in public safety.”

“It’s important for my kids that want to make sure that their dad is always remembered in this lifetime and beyond theirs,” Stoke said.

Firefighters and families say each and every name etched on the wall is a promise.

“We will never forget our brothers and sisters that we’ve lost,” Modesto Fire Chief Alan Ernst said.

“It touches our heart tremendously.”

For Ernst this year’s ceremony is personal.

Two Modesto firefighters, Jesse Nicasio and Gregory Ewert, were added to the memorial wall.

“These are both members that I grew up with in the fire department and that we’ve loved, worked alongside of, ate dinner alongside of and watched our families grow up together. To be able to honor them today is extremely special,” Ernst said.

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