Two names added to Kentucky's Fallen Firefighter Memorial Wall - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Two names added to Kentucky's Fallen Firefighter Memorial Wall

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Pride, honor and sacrifice.

They formed the backdrop today as two more names are etched onto Kentucky's Fallen Firefighter Memorial Wall.

They don't know each other personally, but they know each other's pain: two families, side-by-side, suffering the sorrow of a sudden loss.

"It's been hard," said Thelma Jenkins.

"I just really wished we didn't have to be here," said Gena Grider.

Capt. Anthony Grider was electrocuted in the bucket of a firetruck as he tried to help Campbellsville University students with an ice bucket challenge. Gina Grider was his wife.

Maj. Malcolm Jenkins, a 31-year veteran of the Fern Creek Fire Department, suffered a heart attack after training and never made it home. Thelma Jenkins was his mother.

"We should never forget," said Russ Sanders, regional director of the National Fire Protection Associations and a retired Louisville Fire Chief. "We should  remember everyday the selfless sacrifice and service that they provide to their local communities throughout this great state."

On Wednesday in Frankfort, their names joined a list of more than 200 -- the newest additions to Kentucky's Fallen Firefighter Memorial Wall.

From Grider's wife to Jenkins' 93-year-old mother, the day brings a bittersweet feeling.

"He had done a number of things," Thelma Jenkins said. "He had been a farmer, he had been a plumber, and electrician, and then he found the fire department and that was his life."

The family members are grateful for the honor, but they would gladly wish it all away.

"I just wish it wasn't there," Gena Grider said. "I was missing him very bad today."

Kentucky has the 15 worst firefighter death record in the United States.

The families don't know each other personally, but they know each other's pain. And now they also know they're not alone.

The memorial is a part of Juniper Hills Park in Frankfort.

Copyright 2015 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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