City erects memorial for fallen firefighters

By Nico Roesler
Bonner Springs Chieftain – October 31, 2013
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – November 5, 2013

fairmount township fire 1152013

Two American flags draped over the new memorial to fallen firefighters at the Fairmount Township Fire Department were removed, folded, and handed to the surviving families of two men who lost their lives responding to emergencies in Basehor.

Bernard “Barney” Eberth, 51, who died in 1975, and Jared Moore, 19, who died in 2004, were commemorated in a brick memorial constructed in front of the fire station that they both dedicated their lives to. Eberth’s widow Francis Eberth and Moore’s mother Marlene Moore both broke into tears when presented with the folded flags. A crowd of about 100 stood silent Sunday afternoon during the dedication of the memorial.

Before members of the Basehor VFW Post 11499 gave a 21-gun salute, the only sound that could be heard was slight breeze flapping through the enormous American flag hanging from the 150-foot fire-engine ladder. After the dedication the crowd moved inside the station to celebrate the retirement of three volunteer firefighters who contributed a combine 88 years of service to the station.

“This is a very healing process,” Marlene Moore said after the ceremony, “but it’s always harder than I think it’ll be.”

The new memorial had been in the works for several years, according to Chief Jeff Theno. Theno said the department had been working with the city to decide on a proper location but eventually decided the best place for the memorial, somewhere where everyone could see it, would be right in front of the station.

“It’s something that’s close to our hearts here,” Theno said. “We all appreciate their dedication, service and ultimate sacrifice.”

On the brick memorial facing 155th Street are bronze plaques with both firefighters names on them along with the Firefighters Prayer.

Steve Eberth, son of Bernard Eberth, his 18-year-old daughter and his mother, Francis Eberth, attended the ceremony. Steve Eberth said the family had visited the Kansas memorial to fallen firefighters in Wichita several times but they are more than grateful to see such recognition here in their hometown.

“It’s just great to have one right here in Basehor that we can drive by every day,” Steve Eberth said.

Bernard Eberth died on August 5, 1975, the day Steve turned 20. Steve Eberth said his father was on vacation that day but heard of a grass fire in town and tried to respond to it but fell while trying to get on a moving fire truck. Francis Eberth still has trouble talking about the day she lost her husband.

“I just get all choked up,” Francis Eberth said.

Her emotions came out when she finally saw her husband’s name immortalized on the side of the memorial.

Jared Moore, described by his parents as a “wild child,” had just joined the Fairmount Township Fire Department four months before his death. He was responding to fire north of Basehor when he got in an accident at the corner of 155th Street and Donahoo Road. Patrick Moore, Jared Moore’s father said his son had always dressed up as a firefighter as a kid and had finally found his calling when he joined the Fairmount Township Fire Department.

“He got a bigger kick out of being a firefighter than anything else in his life,” Patrick Moore said.

After the dedication ceremony the crowd, including the Eberth and Moore families, gathered inside one of the station’s garages for a retirement ceremony for firefighter Lyle Wiley, Capt. Gaylin Gorup and Assistant Chief Anthony Turner. Wiley volunteered for the department for 35 years, Gorup served for 25 years and Turner served for 28 years.

“They’ll be sorely missed,” Theno said. “You can’t replace almost 90 years of experience.

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