TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Hundreds from the community came out to St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Downtown Toledo to remember fallen Toledo Firefighters, Stephen Machcinski and Jamie Dickman.
The two honored firefighters tragically lost their lives four years ago doing what they loved. The monsignor emphasized the importance of the risk that the brave men and women who were in attendance take every day to protect our community.
Msgr. Michael Billian explained the reason why masses such as this one, are important.
"When you pick up the phone and you need them, they are there. They are there to serve us all, not just some, and so it's good for all of us to remember, to pray for, and to celebrate their lives," said Billian. "I think the best way to honor people after they have died is to remember their good works, and imitate their good works in our lives."
Mass was busy for a Wednesday night. The mayor was present as well for the entire service to be with the folks who attended.
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz shared why it was important to him to be there.
"It was a truly awful event. We should always remember their sacrifice just an opportunity to pause and reflect about the sacrifice they made and the sacrifice that all firefighters and police officers are prepared to make at a moment's notice on behalf of the citizens of Toledo. The very least I could do was spend some time after work today here at church celebrating mass with them," said Kapszukiewicz.
Just last year, the man who committed arson and caused this tragedy, was convicted and sent to prison. For many of those who attended the service, for the first time, being at the mass service was a chance to finally feel a much needed sense of closure.
"It's just a difficult thing that we come up against every January, and, you know, we deal with it and we deal with it together," Fire Chief, Luis Santiago explained.
Battalion Chief, Mike Benadum, along with many others, was wearing his full dress blue uniforms to honor his fallen colleagues.
"This year, it is extra special that the person who started that fire is convicted of doing so. It gives us a little more sense of peace," he said.
The church where the service was held is a special place for police and firefighters from all over the world, with altars complete with their patron saints to respect their tireless work as civil servants.