Published DateLACONIA — More than 50 people turned out Sunday night at Opechee Park for a candlelight vigil held by the Laconia Fire & Iron Motorcycle Club to honor the memory of 19 firefighters who died last week while battling a wild fire in Arizona.
Lt. Dave French, president of the club and a lieutenant with the Laconia Fire Department, said that he got the idea for the vigil from the club's Nashua chapter, which had organized a vigil of its own.
''I thought there were enough people in the Lakes Region who would want to pay tribute to those firefighters who lost their lives in Arizona for us to hold a vigil here. For us, it's like losing a member of our family and we wanted to do something to honor them,'' said French.
With a giant flag held by a ladder truck draped behind the rows of club members and Laconia firefighters, Mike Kinane, a member of the Laconia club and a former wildland firefighter from Southern California, read the names of the 19 victims, with a minute of silence observed after each name was read.
The event concluded with the Hotshots Prayer, which ends ''For if this day on the line/ I should lose my life/Lord bless my hotshot crew/my children and my wife.''
The 19 firefighters who died were members of an elite unit of wildland firefighters known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and several were members of the Fire & Iron Motorcycle Club of Arizona.
French said that the local club has 10 members and that some of its members have taken trips to other parts of the country Arizona where they rode with members of the Arizona club.
''Some of those who lost their lives rode with our club members. So for some us it's a very personal tragedy.'' said French.