On June 12, the family of Ron Gearhart attended the 27th annual Iowa Firefighters Memorial Service. They also attended a candlelight service the night before. This service is held once a year to add names to the memorial wall located at the memorial site in Coralville. Gearhart served on the Colfax Fire Department for 50 years, 30 as fire chief.
This year Gearhart’s name, along with 119 other names from across Iowa, was added to the wall and read out loud during the ceremony.
Currently, there are 3,354 names on the wall, and 156 are line of duty deaths.
Iowa is the first state to have a firefighter memorial and visitor center echoing Iowa’s leadership in the fire service training and education. Iowa has 20,000 firefighters organized in 871 fire departments. Every year these men and women serve 3 million Iowans in more than 40,000 emergency calls.
Every Iowan will be touched at some point in life through fire rescue, emergency response, fire prevention education, or hazard materials clean up.
This memorial park exemplifies Iowa — its pride, family values, community service and commitment to quality.
The memorial park was dedicated April 10, 1994, at a ceremony attended by 2,500 firefighters and fellow Iowans. The park is open 365 days a year at 1 Russell Slade Blvd., Coralville, Interstate 80 exit 242.