A letter in the 10-17-06 Tomahawk Leader
Letter To The Editor:
On Saturday, Oct. 7, the Wisconsin State Firefighters Memorial was blessed at its permanent home in Wisconsin Rapids. My father, Thomas Beckman, died in the line of duty on Jan. 3, 1978, trying to save a home in the Merrill community. Because of this, my father's name is engraved on the memorial and his name will be read at the blessing Saturday.
I would like to thank everyone who may have donated and supported this wonderful memorial honoring every person who gave their own life to save the life of someone else. Unfortunately, my family was never directly notified of the event by the Merrill Fire Department. My family discussed our disappointment with Steve Quam, a member of the Milwaukee Fire Department and member of the Wisconsin Firefighters Memorial Committee. Mr. Quam contact all the fire departments in the state by letter asking them to notify the families of the firefighters as the state did not have a database at this time.
I would like to express my sincere disappointment in the Merrill Fire Department for not at least trying to directly contact my family. I did find out about the event on Friday, Oct. 6. I live out of state and have a very young child. This makes it impossible for me to make travel arrangements at this late date. As the only fireman to ever die in the line of duty in the Merrill community, it breaks my heart that they did not feel it important enough to respect my father's memory by making a phone call to my family. My only hope is that they will be more professional and respectful of some other family in the unfortunate event Merrill would lose another firefighter.
Thank you for your time.