Thursday, July 04, 2002

Pole honors fallen heroes

Mt. Washington care center thanks its firefighters

By Lew Moores,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ANDERSON TOWNSHIP — Residents at the Mount Washington Care Center will celebrate the Fourth of July today by honoring the fire department that serves them and the memory of two township firefighters who died within a year of each other.

        The Resident Council at the home raised about $700 through bake sales and raffles to purchase a new flagpole, flag and plaque to honor the township fire department and firefighters Bill Ellison and Ben Cunningham.

        Mr. Ellison, 38, a full-time firefighter in Anderson Township who also worked as a firefighter in Miami Township in Hamilton County, was critically injured fighting a house fire in Miami Township on March 8, 2001. He died from his injuries 12 days later.

        Mr. Cunningham, 55, was a popular firefighter in the township who died of cancer in March.

        “When the residents found out we were going to get a new flagpole and move it out front, they wanted to pay for it,” said Ann Brose, activities director at care center. “They wanted to dedicate it to the fire department and to honor the two firefighters who have passed away.”

        The dedication will take place in front of the facility at 1 p.m. today. Care Center is located at 6900 Beechmont Ave.

        For more than 15 years people living at this 145-bed facility have celebrated the Fourth with a short parade of residents in wheelchairs around the facility. The residents decorate their wheelchairs, and the event is attended by the township fire department and American Legion Post 484 in Mount Washington.

        “We thought this would be nice for the fire department,” said Dorothy Lacefield, a Care Center resident who will turn 91 in August and is president of the Resident Council. “They're always helping us, and they come here on the Fourth of July.”

        Anderson Fire Chief Mark Ober said the department was touched by the residents' thoughtfulness.

        “They did this on their own,” said Chief Ober. “They didn't call us and ask, "What do you think?' They put the initiative together. They went out of their way. This will be something that's permanent.”


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