Norton FD pitches in to help Rehoboth honor fallen brother
Norton pitched in with personal and equipment to honor Rehoboth firefighter Ken Marshall Jr. who died at the wheel of a firetruck on Thanksgiving day.
It was a sea of blue as firefighters, police officers and United States Marines wearing their formal blues and white gloves joined together to say goodbye to a fallen brother, Kenneth D. Marshall Jr.
Nearly 1,000 people participated in Marshall's funeral service, which began at Foley-Hathaway Funeral Home in Attleboro, where Marshall's casket, draped with an American flag, was placed on the back of a firetruck and led in a procession to the Community Covenant Church on Tremont Street in Rehoboth.
Norton had a very strong presence at the service. Firefighters attended the wake and funeral and the Norton honor guard marched in the procession. With the Norton and Rehoboth ladder trucks, firefighters set up a large American flag over the cemetery entrance. Off duty firefighters worked for the on-duty honor guard members so they could attend.
"One of our firefighters, Alan Bliss, was previously on the Rehoboth department before joining Norton fulltime, and worked with firefighter Marshall," said Norton Fire Chief Richard Gomes.
Rows of firefighters from departments throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut lined the driveway of the church as Marshall's wife, Bethany, son, Trevor, and daughter, Brianna, watched pallbearers carry Marshall's casket into the church.
Once the church service ended there was a short procession to Fire Station 2, where family and friends stood in front of the station and listened to the final radio call "Dispatching the last alarm for firefighter Kenneth Marshall Jr." and the ringing of the fire bell.
Marshall's casket was brought in a funeral procession to Oak Knoll Cemetery. The procession entered the cemetery under two extended firetruck ladders. At the grave site family and friends comforted one another as bagpipers from the Rhode Island Professional Firefighters Pipes and Drums and others played "Amazing Grace." One by one, firefighters placed their white gloves atop Marshall's casket.
"It was an honor and privilege to have been apart of his fitting ceremony. Our thoughts are with his family and department members," Gomes said.
Marshall, 33, lost his life on Thanksgiving Day while on a call to a kitchen fire in his hometown. Just days after his sudden death, firefighters are seeing to it that his wife and two children, ages 6 and 3, are taken care of.
The fire department plans to help the family through its Fire Chaplain Fund and is encouraging others to offer their support for the family by donating to the Marshall Children's Fund through Webster Bank, according to Chief Robert Pray. The fund has been created by Marshall's employer, J.H. Lynch of Cumberland, RI. Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 7201 Cumberland, RI 02864.