Fallen firefighters remembered, distinguished service honored in Carson City

Reported by: Ashley Cullins
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Updated: 10/13/2013 11:41 am
CARSON CITY, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Each year since 1994 the end of Fire Prevention Week has been marked with a special ceremony.

Two fallen firefighters were honored in Carson City Saturday, as well as three others who have gone above and beyond the call of duty for their fire service.

Five bell rings, three times. It's a time-honored tradition in the fire service for those who fall in the line of duty.

Two men are being remembered for their service. 

38-year-old Dean Tajima of North Las Vegas fire and 55-year-old Paul Young of Clark County fire join dozens of other names on the Nevada Firefighter's Memorial in Carson City.

"Sometimes I think life moves too quickly and we say yeah we miss that guy, he was a good guy and he's no longer with us," said Carson City Assistant Fire Chief Thomas Tarulli.

Tarulli said this small gesture has big significance. 

"It's just a little brass plaque, but it certainly says this will be here forever and we'll always think of you," Tarulli said.

"The playing of Taps, the bagpipes, the ringing of the bell, those are all important traditions in the fire service," said John Oceguera, former Nevada Assembly speaker and North Las Vegas firefighter.
 
Oceguera said they're traditions that help firefighters' families heal.

"They understand that people care and won't forget about their family members who have died and given the ultimate sacrifice," he said.

The event also honors firefighters who went above and beyond to give back their brothers. 

"Anything that bettered the lives of the firefighters or helped them do a better job in a safer way," Tarulli said. "We want to recognize those who stepped up."

Three new names are etched in brass for distinguished service: Mark Balen of Clark County, Charles Laking of Reno and John Oceguera.

Tarulli said it's important that they know how much their efforts mean.

"Sometimes we forget," he said. "We say well done and we say thank yous and they go off through their career or they retire."

For Oceguera the recognition is bittersweet. 

"I was honored and humbled to be put on the distinguished service wall, but I have a lot of friends on this wall to my left so it was sad," he said. 

The more than five dozen names on the memorial wall date back as far as 1870.

If you'd like to see it for yourself, it's at Mills Park in Carson City and is open to the public.
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