Memorial service for 3 fallen junior firefighters Saturday at Victory Park

LEWISTOWN — Fifty years ago, area fire departments made a commitment to never forget the three fallen junior firefighters, Jack Hopple, Richard White and John Wilson, who were killed in the line of duty fighting a silo fire at Dairyland in Reedsville.

Bob Barlett, department chief for Lewistown Fire Department, and Sam Markley, a member of the Lewistown Fire Department for 51 years and a junior firefighter in 1968, are working with the family members of the fallen to plan a memorial service at 4 p.m., Saturday, at Victory Park in Lewistown.

“It’s time we do something community-wise,” Barlett said. “The families are working with us, with their blessing.”

Barlett said the arches will be set up with an American flag at the entrance to the park. The ceremony will feature several speakers, including Lewistown Mayor Deb Bargo; Pat Pauly, instructor at the Pennsylvania Fire Academy and member of LFD; Bruce Trego, state fire commissioner and member of LFD; Ed Mann, past state fire commissioner and member of LFD; and Randy Traxler, LFD chaplain. Kenzie McCarter will sing “Amazing Grace,” followed by the tolling of the bells, when all of the fallen firefighter’s names will be read. A bagpiper will play “Coming Home,” and Zach Leitzel will play “Taps” to end the program.

“This is open to everyone in the state,” Barlett said. “I would like to see it (Victory Park) packed.”

Guests will be allowed to speak, if they wish, after the speakers.

In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will moved indoors to the Rec Park Community Center or the Pennsylvania Fire Academy.

Attendees are asked to bring lawn chairs to the event.

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