Second District Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc.

Second District Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc.

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Dec 09, 2023

"The Brotherhood"
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By Vice President Michael (Mike) Roberts
July 8, 2023

In over 50 years of being a member of the fire and emergency medical services, one of my most cherished memories will always be, the camaraderie of the members involved, whether career or volunteer. We in the Firefighting and Emergency Services call this ‘The Brotherhood”. Never in our department’s history has “The Brotherhood” been as obvious as it was following the tragic loss of Naval District Washington Firefighter/EMT Brice C. Trossbach on June 27, 2023.
On that terrible morning, less than three hours after that tragic event had occurred, units from the Prince George’s County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (Baden, Pumper/Tanker 36) and the Anne Arundel County Fire Department ( Severn, Rescue Squad 4) were at our station with full crews, filling in and running our calls for us, so that our members could take much needed time to comprehend what had happened, begin the grieving process, and take part in the procession to transport Brice’s body to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore. This same scenario was being played out at all of the fire and EMS stations throughout St. Mary’s County. Apparatus and personnel from throughout the State of Maryland and Northern Virginia, both career and volunteer, were arriving at each station to fill in for our local volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services personnel.
Around the same time, as word of the tragedy spread, our community also began to rally around us. Various members and citizens began to show up at the station with food for the first responders, and local stores and restaurants such as Wawa and Olive Garden donated meals and necessities for our standby crews and members. This heartfelt and gracious service continued throughout the following days as needed. Soon thereafter, more local businesses throughout St. Mary’s County began to get involved, donating food and services as needed.
Behind the scenes, a huge logistical undertaking was under way to take care of FF/EMT Trossbach’s family, care for and ensure the well-being of all of the firefighters and emergency medical services personnel who were affected, and to begin planning for the large and complex services and funeral that would follow befitting a line of duty death. The SDVFD&RS Auxiliary immediately contacted and teamed up with the other Auxiliaries in St. Mary’s County to plan and prepare for the funeral repast or to assist in other ways as needed. Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel spent countless hours on cleaning and preparing apparatus that would participate in the funeral procession. Firefighter pallbearers and others who would be directly involved in moving Brice’s casket, as well as those serving as Honor Guards, spent hours practicing their movements and precision to ensure that everything would be perfect. The Hollywood VFD graciously allowed the use of their social hall for these events, and all that would follow.
On Wednesday morning, July 5, 2023, the Baltimore City Fire Department, Engine Company 21, and the Potomac Heights VFD out of Charles County arrived to provide fill in duty at our station once again, so that our members could attend the memorial and prayer services.
As all of this was playing out, I feel it important to note that the body of FF/EMT Trossbach was never left alone and unattended for one second from the time he passed until after his interment on July 6, 2023. A continuous, around the clock “watch” was established and staffed by firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, and other first responders, both career and volunteer, from the entire county and surrounding jurisdictions for those eight long days.
On Thursday, July 6, 2023, the day of the funeral, units and personnel from the Bel Alton VFD out of Charles County, the Huntingtown VFD out of Calvert County, as well as an ALS Ambulance from the Anne Arundel County Fire Department (Avalon Shores, Medic 41) arrived to provide fill in so that our members could attend the funeral mass and service.
The mass and funeral were attended by thousands of firefighters, emergency medical services providers, law enforcement officers, active military personnel, and other first responders. A “Sea of Blue” of fire department and emergency services uniforms was present, immaculate, impeccable, and splendid, all lined up neatly abreast, to pay their respects to their fallen brother. As the funeral procession followed its route, thousands of citizens, military personnel, employees of local businesses, and children lined the route, many waving American flags, holding up signs of love and support, and saluting or with their hands on their hearts. At every intersection, traffic was stopped and blocked by St. Mary’s County fire and emergency medical services apparatus and personnel.
The interment at Charles Memorial Gardens in Leonardtown was just as amazing. The “Sea of Blue” once again lined up in flawless ranks, with touching final goodbyes as the bagpipes played “Amazing Grace”, followed by “Taps”, and the always sorrowful “Last Alarm”.
Such is what we do for each other, those of us within this fraternity, in times such as these. We reach out for each other. We support each other to the maximum possible. We lean on each other as needed. I am so grateful to be able to say that I am blessed to be a part of “The Brotherhood”.

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