Calendar of Events

Fallen Heroes Day Ceremony - Friday, May 3, 2024

The 39th annual Fallen Heroes Day observance will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, May 3, 2024, at the Fallen Heroes Memorial at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. The observance honors Maryland police, firefighters, and emergency medical/rescue personnel who have died in the line of duty and is the only statewide ceremony in the nation that brings together all segments of the public safety community. Fallen Heroes Day, which is held each year on the first Friday in May, is also an opportunity for the public to show their appreciation for those who risk their lives every day to protect the citizens of Maryland. Family members of those being honored will be in attendance.

For a list of all Fallen Heroes honored since the ceremony began, click here.

The ceremony will open with a procession of honor guard units from across the state, mounted units, and motorcycle police. During the ceremony, the families of the fallen heroes will be presented with a replica of the Fallen Heroes Memorial and a resolution from the Maryland General Assembly. The ceremony will conclude with a wreath placement, followed by a 21-gun salute, Taps and a fly-over. The bell that is housed on Maryland’s 9/11 Rolling Memorial will toll as we honor each of the fallen heroes and all Maryland first responders who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The ceremony is open to the public, and is held rain or shine.

The keynote speaker will be Bryan Nehman, award-winning broadcaster, news anchor and co-host of the C4 and Bryan Nehman show on WBAL News Radio.

The family speaker will be Christine Kimbel Byerly, sister of Firefighter James Kimbel who was killed in 1984 while battling the Shiller’s Furniture Store fire on Holabird Avenue in Dundalk. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the loss of James and two other brave firefighters who died in the Shiller’s fire: Walter Bawroski and Henry Rayner Jr. Their deaths inspired the creation of Fallen Heroes Day.

Local broadcaster and artist Mary Beth Marsden will serve as the emcee.

Teams from Crisis Response Canines will be on site to provide support and comfort for the first responders and families in attendance.

“As we gather to honor and remember our fallen heroes, we are in awe of their bravery and deeply grateful for their service. As the bell tolls on May 3rd, we will pay our respects to all of those who have made the supreme sacrifice to ensure our well-being and safety,” said Jack Mitchell, President of Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.

The 2024 Fallen Heroes Day ceremony will honor:

*Firefighter Mark R. Fisher, Jr., Montgomery County Department of Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS), and Frederick County Department of Fire & Rescue Service. End of Watch: July 24, 2014. Mark Fisher’s commitment to helping others was reflected in the 22 years he gave to the fire service as a career firefighter. He exemplified integrity, knowledge, and courage in every shift, and was greatly admired. His work with MCFRS led to him serving on Maryland Task Force One Urban Search and Rescue Team, responding to many disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and September 11th at the Pentagon. FF Fisher’s passion for fire service extended to his part-time and volunteer work with the Frederick County Department of Fire & Rescue Service and was a Life member of the United Steam Fire Engine Company, No. 3. He shared his extensive knowledge as an instructor for both Montgomery County and Frederick County Departments of Fire and Rescue. Following the events of 9-11, Mark Fisher fought a courageous battle for over eight years until succumbing to occupational cancer at the age of 59.

*Firefighter/EMT Bryan P. Hamilton, Naval District Washington Fire Department, and Active Life Member, Bryans Road Volunteer Fire Department. End of Watch: January 1, 2021. An 18-year veteran of the U.S. Department of Navy fire service, Firefighter/EMT Hamilton served with excellence and compassion. During his tenure, “Hammy” as he was nicknamed, was recognized with two Life Saving Awards, and was widely respected throughout the region. His dedication to the community also extended to volunteer service as an Active Life Member, Fire Captain and Engineer of the Bryans Road Volunteer Fire Department in Charles County, MD. In previous years, he was a member of the Waldorf VFD. In all, Bryan “Hammy” Hamilton devoted 26 years to fire service and in that time made a lasting impression on all who knew him. Firefighter/EMT Bryan P. Hamilton succumbed to complications resulting from COVID-19 at the age of 42.

Firefighter/EVD Henry W. Eckhardt, Jr., Life Member of the Reisterstown Volunteer Fire Company, End of Watch: December 5, 2021. FF/EVD Eckhardt’s commitment to the fire service and his community spanned 38 years. During that time, he worked in many capacities at the fire station and was regularly in the top 10 as a fire suppression riding member on the company’s runs. He was a friend to all and a valued member of the department. Henry Eckhardt was a veteran of the U.S. Navy where he served three tours in Vietnam. While in the Navy he served aboard the Henry B. Wilson and U.S.S. Ticonderoga and was involved in the retrieval of Apollo 16. Firefighter Eckhart succumbed to occupational cancer at the age of 72.

*Deputy Chief Craig E. Ralston, Ellicott City Volunteer Fire Department (ECVFD), and Master Firefighter, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA). End of Watch: February 3, 2022. Craig Ralson was a highly respected and much loved first responder who served his community for 20 years. During his tenure, he received multiple honors and awards, including Top Firefighter Responder, Gift of Life, and Firefighter of the Year. Chief Ralston was known as a natural leader and mentor. He was also remembered for travelling through the community each year as the Ellicott City department’s Santa, accompanied by Mrs. Claus played by his wife Kat, an EMS Sergeant. ECVFD Deputy Chief/Master Firefighter Ralston succumbed to complications resulting from COVID-19 at the age of 64. Craig Ralston was posthumously promoted to Deputy Chief.

*Deputy Scott C. McArdle, Anne Arundel County Sheriff’s Office, End of Watch: August 14, 2022. Deputy McArdle was a dedicated member of the law enforcement community who served his state and his county for more than three decades. He joined the Anne Arundel County Sheriff’s Office in 2017, serving in the Transportation and Detention Unit and then later as a Field Operations Bureau Domestic Violence deputy. He previously served with, and retired from, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police Department after 25 years. Earlier in his law enforcement career, Scott McArdle served as a Virginia State Trooper and was also an officer with the U.S. Capitol Police. Scotty, as he was known by friends, family, and colleagues, was known for his kindness, positive attitude, and willingness to go the extra mile to help others. Deputy Scott McArdle, who suffered a heart attack after arriving for duty, was 64 years old at the time of his passing.

*Firefighter Brice C. Trossbach, Naval District Washington Fire Department and Volunteer Firefighter, Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department and Bay District Volunteer Fire Department. End of Watch: June 27, 2023. Firefighter Trossbach lost his life while responding to a mutual aid call for a residential fire in Leonardtown, MD. He was on duty with the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and responded to assist St. Mary’s County in the emergency. FF Trossbach, one of the first firefighters to go through the door of the burning house that morning, was battling the fire when the first floor gave way. He fell into the basement, was immediately rescued, and rushed to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. His calling to serve the community began at an early age as he joined family members in the fire service. Brice was a dedicated public servant and proud first responder who served with distinction, professionalism and compassion. He viewed his career as a firefighter as a privilege and honor, and was highly regarded for his commitment and expertise. Firefighter Trossbach was 25 years old at the time of his passing.

*Firefighter/EMT Rodney W. Pitts, III, Baltimore City Fire Department, End of Watch, October 19, 2023. FF/EMT Pitts lost his life while bravely battling a rowhouse fire on Linden Heights Avenue in Northwest Baltimore. The large and intense blaze which consumed four rowhomes also injured four other fellow firefighters. Rodney Pitts was known for his kindness, magnetic personality, and joyous spirit. He viewed service to others as his core mission. Rodney Pitts set his sights on becoming a firefighter and upon graduating from the Baltimore Fire Academy, began what he described as his dream job. A dedicated member of Engine Company 29, FF/EMT Pitts was 31 years old at the time of his passing.

*Captain Dillon J. Rinaldo, Baltimore City Fire Department, End of Watch: October 24, 2023. A six-year veteran of the Baltimore City Fire Department, Captain Rinaldo passed away from severe injuries suffered while bravely battling the October 19th Linden Heights Avenue rowhouse fire. Following in his father’s footsteps, he was devoted to the fire service and joined his father for many years as a volunteer firefighter in his N.J. hometown. In 2017, he was proud to become a full-time firefighter in Baltimore. A highly skilled firefighter who put his all into his training and career, Dillon was the valedictorian of his BCFD Academy class. Described as an exceptional leader, with an unwavering commitment to others and a heart of gold, Dillon Rinaldo was 26 years old at the time of his passing. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Captain.

Each year the ceremony also recognizes firefighters and police officers who died in the line of duty before Fallen Heroes Day was established. Remembered this year will be:

*Fellow firefighters Charles H. Jerscheid, Sr. and Joseph S. Taylor proudly served with the Baltimore City Fire Department. On January 11, 1956, when responding to a residential fire, Engine Co. No 24 was enroute when it was struck by a tractor-trailer at Patterson Park Avenue and Monument Street. The engine skidded and then overturned, trapping, and killing the driver of the engine, Firefighter Jerscheid, age 45. Thrown from the engine and killed was Firefighter Joseph Taylor, age 41. These two fallen heroes gave their lives to protect the citizens of Baltimore.

*Police Officer John C. Williams, a 19-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department was severely injured on June 27th, 1967, when his patrol vehicle caught fire as another officer filled it with fuel at the old Northern District station at 34th Street and Keswick Road. Flames suddenly erupted under the car which then became engulfed. While both Officer Williams and his partner were able to exit the vehicle, Officer Williams later succumbed to his injuries on August 21, 1967. He was 49 years old at the time of his passing. He is remembered for his steadfast commitment to the service of others.

History: In 1976, Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens set aside burial spaces for fallen heroes and their spouses. The first observance of Fallen Heroes Day was May 16, 1986. It was later moved to the first Friday in May. In 2007, the 70-acre cemetery was purchased by John O. Mitchell, III of the family-owned Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home in Rodgers Forge/Towson, MD. The Mitchell family is proud to continue the tradition of the Fallen Heroes Day ceremony. Currently, 80 members of the public safety community are buried at the Fallen Heroes Memorial. Including this year’s observance, a total of 230 Fallen Heroes will have been honored at the annual ceremony. 

Memorial Day Ceremony - Monday, May 27, 2024

Every year, on the last Monday in May, Dulaney Valley organizes one of the most popular Memorial Day ceremonies in Baltimore. This event takes place in the Circle of Immortals section of the Field of Honor garden. It is a traditional and patriotic gathering that pays tribute to all brave Marylanders who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country.

Please visit our Memorial Day Ceremony Event Page and check back in 2024 for event details.