Monday, September 21, 2009
In Honor Of Eric Shink ~ A group of fellow firefighters were heading to Colorado Springs, Colo., for the annual IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Service. Many firefighters from around the country were making their way on motorcycles to Colorado to take part in memorial rides before Saturday's memorial service.
The crash occurred last Monday on Interstate 84 near the Idaho/Oregon border when he lost control on a curve and struck the guard rail.
Today was his Memorial Service
Hundreds honor Kennewick firefighter (w/ gallery)
Around 700 gathered at St. Joseph's Catholic Church on Sept. 21 to honor Kennewick fire captain Eric Shink, who died in a motorcycle accident on Sept. 14.
Gallery: Remembering Capt. Eric Shink The bell from the Kennewick Fire Department's first fire truck tolled 15 times in memory of the service of Capt. Eric W. Shink.
After the solemn notes filled St. Joseph's Catholic Church on Monday, members of the fire department followed Shink's casket from the church.
His wife Mary, 9-year-old son Christian, and other relatives walked behind his firefighter family as bagpipers played before joining a short procession to Desert Lawn Memorial Park for graveside services.
Shink, 40, died Sept. 14 in a motorcycle crash in Idaho while on his way to an annual fallen firefighters memorial in Colorado.
His life was celebrated during a Mass of Christian Burial attended by about 700 friends, family and colleagues.
Kennewick Fire Chief Neil Hines praised Shink for his "noble and dedicated 14 years of service to our community and four years of service to our nation with the U.S. Marine Corps."
Firefighters from departments in the Tri-Cities, surrounding counties and as far away as Spokane and Seattle came to pay their respects.
Bagpipers from fire departments in Meridian, Idaho, and Everett also attended, while about two dozen members of the Patriot Guard motorcycle honor guard held flags as they lined Garfield Street in front of the church before the service.
Crews from Benton Fire District 1 covered Kennewick's fire calls during the service so the city's whole department could attend.
Shink was remembered as a dedicated firefighter who championed advancements in fire protection. He joined the department in 1995 and was promoted to captain in 2003.
In addition to being a paramedic, Shink was a member of Columbia Basin Dive Rescue and the swift water rescue team. He also volunteered with other Kennewick firefighters helping community members in need and often could be found leading kids on station tours and showing off fire rigs.
In 2005, when Shink was named Fire Officer of the Year, he was recognized for his great willingness to learn, leading by example and being a highly trained and proficient instructor.
Hines, who said he and Shink shared a passion for serving the public, scuba diving and motorcycles, briefly detailed the programs and training that Shink started or helped run for the department.
"Eric's boots will be difficult to fill," Hines said, but added the department will continue Shink's efforts because he would be disappointed if programs ended.
Firefighter/paramedic Kelly Williamson said Shink loved being a husband and cherished his son. Shink had a tough-guy exterior -- riding a Harley, exploring underwater caves and being a firefighter/paramedic -- but those who knew him knew there was a softer side, Williamson said.
"As a firefighter, paramedic and later as a captain, Eric was a shining example of professionalism and dedication to his craft," Williamson said. "I'm proud and honored to have worked by his side."
Hines, Williamson and Capt. Joe Terpening shared stories about Shink, some of which elicited chuckles, while others drew more tears.
Terpening said Shink was half brother, half son to him. He was a legendary storyteller and had that side where he was just a big kid.
The two used to go on motorcycle rides together and Shink was known to be a bit frugal, Terpening said, but "he was equally as giving and had a big heart."
"Eric will always be Capt. Shink in my mind, but more importantly he'll always be the kid in my heart," Terpening said.
Before the Mass ended, Fire Chaplain Bill Lotz explained that the bugle has a long history in fire departments traditionally used to give orders to the troops.
The firefighter with the bugle hanging from his neck or shoulder was easily identified as the one in charge. A small pin in the shape of a bugle became an insignia of rank that still is used today, he said.
Members of Shink's shift presented his family with a bugle that later was carried by Shink's son.
After the graveside service, dispatchers at the 911 center said goodbye to Shink over the radios, thanking him and his family for his service.
"Your assignment is now complete," a dispatcher said.
Get there fast....
Always Make friends....
Keep Family Close....
this was Eric's Motto
to view pictures from the Hearld click on the link