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Columbus firefighters honored at annual memorial service

During an annual memorial service, the Columbus Division of Fire honored the 41 lives lost this year.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Division of Fire hosted its annual memorial Sunday to pay respects and honor the service members who passed away this year.

Columbus firefighters gathered to remember the 41 lives lost in 2022, including four on active duty.

“Today is very special in the sense that we are honoring our three members who died of COVID, as well as our most recent Doug Wartman who passed away from cancer," Batallion Chief Jeffrey Geitter said. "All are special, but this was a hard year for us to lose so many active members."

Credit: Stacie Wortman

Stacie Wortman attended in remembrance of her husband, Doug. He recently died from his second round of cancer after serving Columbus for more than 31 years.

“It's quite the honor for my husband and the other firefighters,’ Stacie shared. “It was emotional but I loved it, and I know he's looking down and it was for all of them, for all the names they read.”

Stacie, who serves as a nurse herself, said Doug loved living a life of service to the Columbus community.

Credit: Stacie Wortman

“He said he would do it all over again. He wanted to be a firefighter all his life, and even knowing that, he said he would do it all over again and serve Columbus,” Stacie said.

She said her strength comes from the "Columbus fire family."

“There’s no way I would be standing here today without them. They really took care of me and I just feel really blessed and thankful."

Now, Wortman said she will be here to pay it forward and help other families in the future who may face this loss.

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