Peter James Coe
The 30th Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service will honor a Shoreham firefighter who died in the line of duty in 2009. A Burlington firefighter will also be honored.
The two men are among the firefighters who died between late 2009 and 2010 who will be remembered at the official national service held at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Firefighter Peter James Coe, 43, of the Shoreham Volunteer Fire Department died after being struck by a vehicle while investigating a possible motor vehicle accident on Dec. 27, 2009.
Lieutenant Steven N. “Vinny” Costello, age 46, of the Burlington Fire Department died on July 30, 2010, after being found unresponsive in the station on July 23, 2010.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and the Department of Homeland Security will sponsor the official national tribute on Oct.16.
Coe grew up in Bethesda, Md., where he graduated from Walt Whitman High School, while playing on their golf team. He turned down a golf scholarship to travel to California. He came back to the east coast and attended Lynchburg College and St. Mary's College. Shortly after returning to Bethesda, he met his future wife, Valerie. They were married in 1990. Genevieve was born in that year and Nicholas was born in 1997.
Coe’s family members said he was most dedicated to their happiness. He chose Vermont as his home, after 36 years of living in the Washington, D.C., area, because it reflected his values of family, work and community. He always spoke of how much he loved the Vermont environment and lifestyle, where he could put in a full day of work and drive to see his son’s baseball game without being stuck in traffic.
Shoreham residents embraced Coe as much as he embraced them. His children were the pride of his existence and his wife was the love of his life, friends said.
As first responders to all natural and manmade emergencies, fire service personnel are in constant danger.
During 2010, 72 firefighters died in the line of duty, making firefighting one of the nation’s most dangerous occupations.
More than 6,000 people, including Members of Congress, Obama administration officials and other dignitaries, members of the fire service, and families and friends of the fallen firefighters will attend the event. Families will receive flags flown over the U. S. Capitol and the National Memorial.
Members of the fire service, honor guard units and pipe and drum units from across the U.S. will participate in this national tribute.
Many fire departments across the country will also conduct simultaneous services, lower flags to half-staff, sound sirens, and observe a moment of silent tribute. For the first time in Memorial Weekend history, departments and local places of worship are invited to participate in Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters, a national moment of remembrance, to honor those who died in the line of duty.
For more information on Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters visit: www.BellsAcrossAmerica.com.