In 1997, after the funeral of a retired member of the Loveland Fire Department, a group of LSFD firefighters led by Tom Benjamin approached Otto Huber (then-Assistant Fire Chief, now Chief of Department) about creating an honor guard unit. They wanted LSFD to be able to show respect and dignity at the funerals of emergency service personnel in the Cincinnati area. Chief Huber agreed that starting an honor guard unit would be beneficial to the surrounding emergency service community and the LSFD Honor Guard was born.
The original Honor Guard uniform was a Civil War era-type that consisted of a double breasted, red blouse and coat with traditional fire department bell caps and navy blue pants. The primary uniform color of red was selected to represent a color of remembrance for those emergency personnel who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and lost their life in the line-of-duty. The Civil War era-style was chosen to represent the LSFD’s commitment to never forget.
Commitment to Never Forget
The department has made an eternal commitment to never forget the history of not only our fire department, but of the fire service as a whole. Many firefighting and honor guard traditions that we still use today were developed many years ago and have only been modified a little to adapt to modern times.
Honor Guard Today
“The Guard,” as it is known throughout the department today, gives the LSFD an avenue to express this commitment. 2017 marked the 20th Anniversary of “The Guard.” This year also served as a year of transition and change for the Honor Guard. For the first time in its history, additional members were selected by present Guard members and the Chief of Department. Originally a five-member team, “The Guard” currently consists of nine members. The current LSFD Honor Guard members are:
- Captain Chris Ellis, Commander
- Captain Dan Walsh, Deputy Commander
- Captain Bill Adkins
- Captain John Eadiccico
- FF Bruce Hawk
- FF Hunter Peron
During “The Guard’s” 10th anniversary year in 2007, a new uniform design was selected to give the Honor Guard a “fresh look.” As part of the new uniform, the members of the Honor Guard designed a patch that will be displayed on the shoulders of the new uniforms.
In choosing the colors for the patch the members kept in mind the color of the new uniforms. Since the new uniforms will be navy blue with red piping the same colors were chosen for the patch.
The United States and LSFD flags shown on the patch, these are the same flags that are carried by “The Guard” each time the unit marches. The steamer and the accompanying horses are tribute to the Department’s rich history, dating back to 1885. The steamer on the patch is an exact replica of Loveland’s original horse-drawn steam engine that the LSFD still owns today.
The final component of the patch is the ribbon near the bottom of the patch. The ribbon displays the year that the Honor Guard was founded, so that future members may never forget the history and tradition of “The Guard.”
Because the very nature of a fire department honor guard is to escort the casket and render honors at a funeral, every move and gesture must be precise and indicative of the valor and dedication that was exhibited by the deceased. To remain sharp and crisp in their movements, the members of “The Guard” currently practice frequently.
The members of the Honor Guard truly represent the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department at its highest moments and help to convey the emotions and sympathies of a grateful department when we lose a Brother or Sister firefighter. “Officium Supremus Ego” has always been the unofficial creed of the Guard – “Service Above Self."
Respect & Distinction
The members of “The Guard” are typically not paid for the time they spend training or for the details they appear at, although most everything they do requires a huge time commitment. However, Honor Guard members are compensated by the fact that by simply showing up brings a calm and dignity to that event. The effect that the Honor Guard has on the family of a fallen firefighter is impossible to be measure. When looking up the word “honor” in the dictionary it reads; “a mark, token, or gesture of respect or distinction.” That is exactly what the members of the LSFD’s Honor Guard strive to achieve – respect and distinction.
15th Anniversary & Former Members
2012 was The Guard’s 15th anniversary. We would like to thank these former members for your dedication to our team:
- Deputy Chief Mike Books
- Deputy Chief Brian Dowers
- Captain Steve Oughterson
- Bryan Brumagen
- Jon Hines