Family honors fallen firefighter-paramedic on 5th anniversary of death
Firefighter Patrick Wolterman, who was killed while responding to an arson fire, has been remembered in unique ways in his close knit community, such as being named for an original creation of a local brewing company
Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio
HAMILTON, Ohio — The fifth anniversary of firefighter Patrick Wolterman's death passed Monday with Hamilton residents and fire officials remembering the tragedy that happened during an arson blaze.
"We promised the family five years ago we would never forget," said Tony Harris, president of International Association of Firefighters Local 20. "Since then we have tried to always honor Patrick as the hero he is and learn and improve ourselves in honor of him.
"Even though it is really painful to remember that night, we will never forget Patrick and his sacrifice. He is a hero and all of his brothers and sisters from Hamilton, Colerain and Fairfield Township honor him by continuing to do this job."
The fifth year after Wolterman's death was marked by the June death of Lester Parker, who was convicted of murder and arson, along with his nephew. Parker, 70, was an inmate at London Correctional Institution, but was at a hospital because of sickness when he died.
Parker and the nephew, William "Billy" Tucker, of Richmond, Ky., were sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years. The fire was set at Parker's Pater Avenue home, and Parker was celebrating his 45th wedding anniversary in Las Vegas when the fire happened.
Council Member Michael Ryan, who joined council three years after Wolterman's death, said he remembers working in his Cincinnati office when he learned a Hamilton firefighter died while on duty.
"I just remember my heart sank while I was at my desk," Ryan said. "I just felt terrible, knowing what his family was going through, and especially the men and women of the Hamilton fire department. I felt just completely awful.
"Everyone's very close in Hamilton. Our city employees are close, and I know our public safety departments — the police and fire — they're not just close, they're family. I just can't imagine the emotions they were feeling that day. I know this anniversary can kind of make them feel the same way they did five years ago, and my heart really goes out to all of them today."
The death of the firefighter/paramedic had a profound impact on his coworkers. Municipal Brew Works since his death crafted a brew in his memory, Woltermelon Blond Ale, with some of the proceeds going to Companions on a Journey Grief Counseling Center in West Chester.
Wolterman was a 28-year-old Roger Bacon High School graduate who had married seven months earlier.
(c)2020 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio)