Kent firefighter to be honored at Fallen Firefighters' Memorial Service in Olympia

Robert Schmidt. - COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Fire Department
Robert Schmidt.
— image credit: COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Fire Department

A Kent firefighter is among those who will be honored Sunday, June 1 in Olympia at the 2014 Washington State Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial Service.

The annual service, which is open to the public, honors those firefighters who gave their lives the previous year for the communities they served. It is sponsored by the Washington State Fire Fighters’ Association, the Washington Fire Chiefs, the Washington Fire Commissioners Association, and the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters.

This year’s ceremony, at 1 p.m. at the State Capitol Rotunda, recognizes the following firefighters:

Engineer Robert Schmidt, Kent Fire Department Regional Fire Authority; crew chief Zachary Jake VanderGriend, Forest Service contractor; firefighter Jess Hernandez, Seattle Fire Department; firefighter Albert A. Nejmeh, Tacoma Fire Department; fire equipment operator John Knighten, Spokane Fire Department; firefighter Robert Hamel, Clark County Fire District 6; and Capt. Carl Murray, Vancouver Fire Department.

Schmidt, 50, died in April 2013 after a 10-month battle with brain cancer. Because his cancer was determined to have been caused by his work as a firefighter, Schmidt's death is considered to be a line of duty death, according to fire officials.

Gov. Jay Inslee will speak at the service.

The service begins on the front steps of the Capitol Rotunda with a pipes and drums led procession and the retrieval of the ribbons embroidered with the names of the fallen Washington firefighters. The procession of family members and ribbons will then pass through a corridor of honor and move into the rotunda for the remainder of the ceremony.

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