ROCHESTER, Minn- Today the Rochester Fire Department paid tribute to two firefighters that lost their lives while on duty with a memorial service. 66 years ago Christmas Eve firefighters Stanley O’Brien and Ambrose Riley responded to a call about a boy who had fallen through the ice at Silver Lake. That boy was 9-year-old John-Paul Stephenson.
Jerry O'Brien is the son of Stanley O'Brien. He says he remembers his dad being the type of man who loved his family, community and protecting others.
“He’s a hero,” Jerry said.
He says he doesn’t remember much of the day because he was too young to comprehend things but Bob Jenkins who was also a boy at the time remembers everything.
“The day was much like today in the 30s,” Jenkins said. “I saw a lot of commotion and I went and got my friend who had a boat. We put the boat in over here below 10th street,”
Despite everyone’s efforts sadly, Stephenson, O’Brien, and Riley lost their lives that day.
To remember the heroic efforts of O’Brien and Riley the Rochester Fire Department pays tribute with a memorial service. Captain Caleb Feine was one of the firefighters in attendance.
"Every year we do a memorial service to honor those that we have lost because we truly don't want to ever forget their sacrifice that was made," Feine said.
"It's an honor to come down here every year it just pulls at my heart," Jerry said.