Honoring fallen firefighters

Published 8:43 am Friday, June 4, 2010

Isle of Wight widow Ruth Ann Nordwall on Saturday, June 5, will be in Richmond, where her late husband, Carl, will be among six Virginia firefighters honored for dying in the line of duty in 2009.

“I never thought he would be on that wall of this memorial at such a young age,” Ruth said.

A captain with Norfolk Airport Authority Fire Department, Carl Nordwall died of a massive heart attack on Oct. 6. His death came as a shock.

“I got a call from one of the guys on his shift,” said Ruth.

She was told her 56-year-old husband was taken to a Norfolk hospital emergency room.

Carl had been a firefighter for 27 years.

“Carl was a dedicated firefighter,” Ruth said. “That is all he ever wanted to do with his life. The fire service was everything.”

Ruth will be joined in Richmond by her daughter, Kim Thompson of Elizabeth City, N.C., and 12-year-old grandson, Austin. A group of motorcyclists with the Sons of the American Legion, Squadron 49, also will make the trip. Carl was a member of the group.

The 13th annual Virginia Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service will be held at Richmond Raceway Complex Old Dominion Building.

Other honorees include Firefighter Jeffrey H. Reed of Pulaski Fire Department, Capt. Michael E. New of Chesapeake Fire Department, Master Firefighter Carl A. Barber of Virginia Beach Fire Department, Firefighter Larry W. Felton Sr. of Norfolk Fire Department and Assistant Fire Chief Bobby Joe Mullins of Dante Volunteer Fire Department.

The memorial service, hosted by the Virginia Department of Fire Programs, will include a keynote address by Secretary of Public Safety Marla G. Decker, a Virginia Fire Services Honor Guard procession featuring the Saint Andrew’s Legion Pipes and Drums, musical performances by Richmond recording artist Susan Greenbaum and Nashville recording artist Kari Smith, and a fire apparatus display from departments across the state. Virginia state flags will be presented to the families of the fallen firefighters.

A reception, hosted by the Virginia Professional Firefighters Association, will be held for fallen firefighter family members and guests immediately following the service. Both the service and the reception are open to the public.