Gray skies and a steady rain cast the dedication of the Wayne County First Responders Memorial in a somber, yet appropriate, light on Thursday afternoon.
Located at the corner of Hines Drive and Haggerty Road in Plymouth Township, the memorial honors first responders of police, fire and EMS personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty in Wayne County.
Rev. Tom Belczak, a pastor at St. Kenneth Catholic Church, spoke of the rain as he said the invocation at the start of the ceremony.
“Perhaps those are tears of our God for those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Belczak said
Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano said the memorial wall was "really an inadequate way to say thank you to those families that are touched by who's on that wall, but it's a start."
The dedication program included the presentation of colors, the National Anthem performed by Livonia Franklin High School Choir, a rifle volley presented by Van Buren Township Police Department and a Fire Fighters Bell Service presented by the Detroit Fire Honor Guard.
Family members of fallen first responders, along with Wayne County officials, police and fire personnel, spoke during the dedication of the memorial.
Bob Woehlke teared up while talking about his brother Brian Woehlke, a Wayne-Westland firefighter who died in May while battling a fire at a strip mall in Westland.
The event concluded with a special wreath ceremony led by Ficano. Three wreaths, one each for police, fire and EMS, were placed in front of the memorial, honoring and recognizing the sacrifices first responders made for our community.
"They may have lost their life prematurely, but their memories are going to live on," Ficano said.