(BEDFORD) - The sound of a bell holds special significance for firefighters.
Historically, the toll of a bell summoned members to the station, signaled the beginning of a shift, notified departments of a call for help, and indicated a call was completed and the unit had returned to the station.
Departments sounded a series of bells when a firefighter died in the line of duty to alert all members that a comrade had made the ultimate sacrifice. This time-honored tradition continues today during the funerals or memorial services for firefighters.
On Sunday the bells will toll in memory of Marion Township Volunteer Firefighter Jimmie Zeeks.
Zeeks was serving as the fire chief when he collapsed of a heart attack at the scene of a car crash on August 15, 2009. He died a short time later.
The ceremony will be held Sunday, at Shafer Auditorium at 2 p.m. The program is sponsored by Bommer Christy, operations director of Tabernacle of Praise Emergency Service (TOPES).
The public is invited to come show their appreciation for the service firefighters do for the community. All the firefighters in Lawrence County will be attending, according to Christy and will be recognized for their services during the event.
"This is a much better thank you then a moment of silence," Christy says
Mayor Shawna Girgis, Bedford Fire Department Chief Jon Wagner and Pleasant Run Fire Department Chief and President of the Lawrence County Volunteer Fire Department Association Steve Nolan will address the crowd.
Jimmie Zeek's son, Jason, who followed in his father's footsteps, is a captain with the Bloomington Fire Department and assistant chief of Marion VFD. He will be presented with a 1890 Waltham pocket watch. The watch has a horse-drawn fire engine on the back.
"The family is one of a kind and dedicated to serving the community as firefighters," Christy says. "I am sure the watch will be passed down for generations. Firefighting will always be a part of this family."
The program will last about an hour Christy says.
The program is part of the 30th Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend Bells Across America For Fallen Firefighters.
For the first time the bells at the Chapel at the National Memorial, in Emmitsburg, Maryland will chime to honor fallen heroes.
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