Gallery Furniture is very thankful for the brave men and women of the Houston Fire Department, these heroes run in to a situation when so many of us are running away from it, and they risk their very lives in the process. Often, folks forget just how hard these folks work day-in and day-out, so a while back, about a week after the first Grand Opening on 07.04.09 at Gallery Furniture, when Tommy Atkinson of the Houston Fire Department's Honor Guard told me about his need to take the Houston Fire Honor Guard to annual International Association of Fire Fighters convention, I said Gallery Furniture would be happy to help.
Serving in the Houston Fire Department's Honor Guard is an emotionally tough job. The firefighters composing the unit serve in funerals, perform the pipe and drum ceremonies at the Houston Firefighters Memorial, and many of their members accompany the casket of a fallen comrade as a constant reminder that the fallen firefighter is not alone. They will be with the fallen comrade's family and will walk the final steps of procession to internment, a humble and silent reminder that this a true fraternal order - an order many of us know little of, and can only begin to imagine the depths of. These individuals are heroes is every sense of the word.
For it is their dedication to the job and task at hand that shines day in and day out in Houston. Gallery Furniture remembers that heroism, as the night of May 21st, the gallant crews of the 31 Houston fire stations that responded to the Gallery Furniture warehouse fire saved the showroom, allowing Gallery Furniture to have an optimistic and bright future in light of the tragedy that occurred. So, sending the dedicated firefighters of the HFD Honor Guard to Colorado Springs for an assembly of firefighters from all over the United States and Canada to honor all men and women who passed away in the line of duty the year before seemed the least Gallery Furniture could do to thank these brave souls.
The HFD Honor Guard was thankful to Gallery Furniture, and they surprised us with a certificate of appreciation from Mike Smith, Tommy Atkinson, and Jim Wathen, whose combined years of service totals 85 years - a testament to the longevity of the bond that ties these men together. They shared their story with us, saying that the donation given allowed them to be with their fellow brethren in a place of worship, respect, and love - where they could honor all firefighters of this great continent together, along with the families of the fallen.
Tommy Atkinson did want us to know, the Honor Guard is more than just a unit in times of memorials or crisis. "There are many other events the HFD Honor Guard has been asked to do, such as serving as a pipe and drums during valor awards, or at the Mass for the Firefighters, even local high school graduations." Indeed, Gallery Furniture learned there was much to these men who perform many of these actions on their own off-duty time. This spirit of commitment, love of fellow man, and drive to give back to the community are all values shared by Gallery Furniture, and we thank the men and women of the HFD Honor Guard for giving back to their own Department as well as to the general public.
A warm thanks to Tommy Atkinson, Mike Smith, Jim Wathen and the entire body of the HFD Honor Guard as well as the Houston Fire Department for all they do, day in and day out. All of you are true heroes.
To learn more about the Houston Honor Guard, visit their website by clicking HERE.