By Rebekah K. Bohannon Beeler
Tansi residents Ed and Pat Sawchuk hosted their annual Remembrance Breakfast on Sept. 11 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in honor of the brave American firefighters whose patriotism and courage live on in their memories.
The house was decorated with stars and stripes, and everyone was asked to wear red, white and blue. It is a breakfast of American champions keeping the victims of the 9-11 attacks close to their hearts, with reverence and sincerity of the events that took place 12 years ago. The Remembrance Breakfast is about honoring the firemen, celebrating heroism and remembering the families who are still affected today.
Ed is a 21-year firefighting veteran, retired from Dearborn Heights City Fire Department in Michigan. He moved up through the ranks in the department serving as firefighter, engine driver, lieutenant and finally made captain.
“I lean toward the firefighters because I was one. The brotherhood of firefighters is so strong with camaraderie. It’s an unbreakable bond,” said Ed.
Each year he honors the 343 firefighters who answered the call of duty and sacrifice on that fateful day. He keeps the memories of their service close, adding it to his personal commitment to service and brotherhood.
“Firefighting is so rewarding. The best game in town. But it’s a young man’s game,” said Ed. “I retired at 45 then drove a school bus for 16 years.” Sawchuk laughed, “Firefighting was easier.”
Eighteen men came to the Remembrance Breakfast, bearing foods their wives prepared and sent with them.
“We started holding the Remembrance Breakfast about seven or eight years ago when we first moved to Tansi,” said Ed. “At first, it was a men’s only S.O.S. breakfast, but when the wives got involved they started bringing blueberry cobblers and egg casseroles.”
The Remembrance Breakfast remains a men’s only breakfast, save a few hostesses, which parallels the camaraderie of the brotherhood of firefighters. They pay homage to the firefighters who gave their lives to help others when the towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001.
Ed has a lot of pride in the brotherhood of firefighters, and rightfully so. He says there were so many innocent lives, emergency responders and the like who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 attacks that he regards often, but it’s the firefighters to whom he has the strongest connection, a common ground, and honors the valor they displayed.
Having seen the events unfold on 9-11, members of the Dearborn Heights City Fire Department immediately took their boots around the city’s 12 square miles and raised $250,000 . The union president and another board member then went to New York to present it.
To remember not to forget and never forget to remember, Ed keeps the code of the brotherhood of firefighters, “Always Ready” to honor the fallen and uplift the living. As nearby siren sounds its alert, Ed said, “They’re playing my song.”