I had the opportunity to attend the inaugural Texas Fallen Heroes Memorial Ride and Cook off. It was organized by The Texas Line of Duty Task Force. The memorial ride was created to help raise awareness of The Texas Line of Duty Task Force and helped raise funds for the trailers that they use to carry the equipment they bring when a Texas firefighter falls in the line of duty.
The memorial ride and cook off was also created to raise money for scholarships for the families and funds for members to respond when departments lose a member in the line of duty. This years event was dedicated in memory of firefighter Charles Lance Matthew, in a moving ceremony in sheets of driving freezing rain dozens of Texas firefighter motorcycle riders and their friends, competing cooks , members of firefighter Matthew's family, chaplains from around the state and our own director of The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the FDIC 2010 lifetime achievement award winner Ron Siarnicki placed a wreath at the foot of the memorial.
Despite the weather no one left, despite all these obstacles tremendous time was had by everyone. For all of this and for the hundreds of cookoffs and rides which will follow we have incredible woman to thank this event. By combining her sheer determination and overriding passion for not only the fire services safety and security but for our deep seeded moral connection to our higher power. By reaching out to her thousands of Texas friends and fellow firefighters she got the first annual memorial ride and took off to be a tremendous success.
Wendy Chang Norris is not just a chaplain, not just a great firefighters wife but she is truly a leader in the American fire service. She embodies all of the qualities that we all strive so hard to reflect. She lives a life of sacrifice of dedication and quiet humility in the service of God and her community.
It was my distinct honor to have been asked to attend. I have pledged to return next year and I will strongly encourage anyone in the state of Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and Arizona to join me there next year let's make this a celebration of the Southwest's dedication. I look forward to Wendy telling us what time next year. I look forward to seeing Wendy at FDIC in a few weeks and I thank her for allowing all of us to pray together and rededicate ourselves to what really matters, service to others. Wendy Chang Norris is not only changing lives she is saving lives.