Iowa Firefighters Memorial

Sunday the 13th was a special day.  Kramer, my husband who died from lung cancer in 2019, was being honored along with 279 other firemen who died.

For those of you who don’t know, Iowa had a firefighters memorial in Coralville, Iowa.  They have a wall of names and persons who served and firefighters and have passed on, can have their names put on the firefighter’s wall of names.

Our family was invited to go to the ceremony.  Kelli wanted to go and we took the kids.  She has a nice stroller that allows the boys’ car seats to be buckled into place.  The stroller is awesome.

It is a just over 2 hours for us to drive there so being we had the kids and needed to there early, Kelli and I decided to go down and stay overnight.  We stopped at the memorial on Saturday night to check out seating and to find Kramer’s name on the wall.


Things were already set up for the festivities of the next day.

We found Kramer’s name and Kelli showed Georgie “his letters”.  We brought paper and crayons so Kelli made a few rubbings of his name.


Kramer was both a 1st responder and an EMT.  He served many years.

In Grand Meadow, MN he was an EMT from 1987-1990
In Chester, IA he was a Fireman from 1990-1991
In Lawler, IA he was a fireman and 1st responder from 1991-1998
In Waucoma he was a fireman and 1st responder from 1998-2019 when he passed away.

Kramer loved life as a volunteer.  He had so much fun with all the people he served with…he helped a lot of people along the way too.

At Kramer’s Celebration of life numerous people came and greeted me.  Many had stories of working with him as a fireman or first responder.  Many had stories of how he came and helped them get through a hard situation.  It was so precious to me that they shared their stories.  It made the times when he got called away in the middle of Easter dinner a little more understandable.

For the most part, the kids were pretty good.  Georgie was all of her two-year-old self but she wasn’t naughty.  There is a difference.


The boys did better with their hotel stay than Georgie did.

We were up early on Sunday to get to the ceremony so we would have seating.  It was packed.  Kramer and others were supposed to be inducted last year but due to Covid, the regular ceremony was canceled.

Georgie was the greeter and greeted many who came.   She even cozied up to a crew that came in riding motorcycles!


One of the most comforting thing about the whole ceremony was that everyone there had lost a loved one or partner in firefighting.  It was a totally safe place to shed a tear.  Every person there felt a little sad but also honored that their loved one’s name/co-fireman was added to the wall.


We bought Georgie a mini flag.  She had fun waving it…maybe just a little bit too much fun.


Kramer would have loved the bagpipers.  He always said if he could have played an instrument, he’d have wanted to play bagpipes.


At the end of the ceremony, they released balloons.

There was a lot of pomp and circumstance.


Some of the local Waucoma firemen and their wives came and sat with us too.  They were great!  They were the ones that did the work to make sure Kramer’s name was added to the wall.  They didn’t even get weirded out when I got teary-eyed.  Kramer was so blessed to have them in his life…and I’m so blessed that they’ve adopted me and our whole family too.


As part of the program, those who lost someone came to the front,  said their loved one’s name, and then placed flowers at the wall near their loved ones’ name.  Here Mike is with me.


Something else they did that was really neat.  Two hook and ladder trucks raised a flag over traffic so passerbys could drive under.  It looked so neat.


It was a beautiful ceremony with some pomp and circumstance and some good fellowship with like people.  It was the perfect way to honor Kramer’s service to his community over the years.

Our family is so thankful for the Iowa Firefighter’s Association and to our local Waucoma Fire Department.  It’s such as honor to us to be part of the department family.

18 thoughts on “Iowa Firefighters Memorial

  1. Kate

    This was hard to read without a tear! What a great occasion and Kramer’s name certainly deserved being on the wall. He was such a good example to so many and his legacy will live on!

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  2. Carla

    That is a well deserved ceremony and honor for firemen. Too often when a firefighter dies they are soon forgotten. We lost my husband’s cousin, Robert, in a Houston fire in 2013. Every time I saw a firetruck I would tear up. The firefighters shop at the same store I do and I always want to thank them. A firefighter really does sacrifice so much to keep the rest of us safe. Thank you Kramer family for supporting your dad/ husband as he served his communities.

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  3. Rachel Summy

    What a beautiful and well-thought out memorial service. So glad you could attend.
    Have to say you have beautiful grandchildren!! Your and Roger’s legacy will live on through them and your children. Take care.

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  4. June

    What a Wonder state to Honor these brave people. We take what they do for granted and Pray we never need to call them. But if we do They are always willing to come help. I always Thank them, and Veterans when they come thru the check out lines at work. I couldn’t help but notice next to Kelli’s feet. The spot of sunshine. I’d like to Believe that Kramer was saying “He was well pleased”. Maybe that sounds silly but Angels surround us in our times of grief and need. God Bless your family. Your children and the firefighters.

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  5. Patt weimer

    My father, firefighter, 32 yrs in new jersey; texas, 23 yrs. My son, 34 yrs (& counting), grandson, 8 yts, so far. So understand your pride in your husband’s & father’s selfless service. Now youngest grandson (18) leaves for career army. He made it clear he wants to serve in another manner. Family so proud of him. What a special way for you all to honor family member & thise who have gone before.

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  6. Lori L Douglas

    Roger would be so proud to be listed with his fellow firefighters. Glad you got to share an overnight with Kelli and the kids. What an honor for your family!

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  7. Marty

    I so enjoyed this . It is so heartwarming to see that people honor the work your husband did, and remember the consequences for him, his family and community. I too love the bagpipes although over the many years of my husband’s fire service I have too often heard them on sad occasions.

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  8. Jeri D

    Jo, this is so beautiful! I am so happy that you shared this day and that your darling grands experienced this with you. God bless you all!

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  9. Ginny Clyne

    This made me cry. A well deserved honor for your Kramer for his service. I understand about being the wife my husband has been an volunteer EMT here in CT for 25+ years with no desire to retire.

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  10. Judith Fairchild

    I cried and am crying. They are good tears for a man now only through you . But I’m crying g because his life was sent n the serve of others when they needed him. Iowa does have some great traditions thank you for sharing .
    To me there’s bathing that sounds as good as bagpipes and trumpets at a memorial service.

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  11. Lisa B

    I shed a tear or two reading this. Thanks for sharing this memorable day with us. I love Karl’s hand on Kayla’s shoulder in the group photo. It is so nice to see how your adult children care for each other.

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  12. Brenda

    How moving to vicariously celebrate your husband’s day of honor. How terrific that they didn’t just let things slide by and blame vivid.
    My uncle(brittle diabetic)And step-grandfather served our villages volunteer fire dept.so the mention of the Easter dinner I eruption caught my attention.
    There is truly a brother sisterhood with these heroes hank you for sharing.

    Reply

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