Juneau, AK (KINY) - A Ringing of the Bell service was held at the downtown fire station in honor of Mike Grummett, who had served as a fireman and other various community-related positions.
Grummett passed away at the age of 79 in October of 2016. He was active in the Boy Scouts and community sports. He also served 30 years as a member of the Zach Gordan Youth Club Board.
We caught up with Fire Chief Rich Etheridge, who talked a bit about who Grummett was and why the ringing of the bell is so meaningful.
“Grummett left the fire department back in the 80s and it's been quite some time, but we still take take a few minutes to remember all the ways he served the community whether it was through work on various boards around town through some of the sports programs. These people that built the fire service here in Juneau committed a lot to the community in it’s upon us to take a couple minutes to remember them and reflect on their service and then use that to carry the department forward.”
He then explained the idea behind the symbolism of ringing the bell.
“We do these for firefighters that have served Juneau in some capacity. When they are here and they’re serving they’re giving their time, as well as the time they would’ve had with their families. A lot of times, people come serve 3, 5, 10, 15, even 50 years and when they leave a lot of them have that fear that they will be forgotten. This is our way to let people know that their service means something and that just because they’re gone, doesn’t mean they’re forgotten.”
Etheridge says that these events are typically done several times a year.
“There is no set schedule for these types of events. It is more for the families and the firefighters to get together, so a lot of times it takes time for extended family members to gather in Juneau. We do these about 8-10 times per year and sometimes they happen several years to the time of someone’s passing. It just depends on the family and their travel plans.”