Opinion: Emergency worker killed given proper respect following fatal accident, says Parishville resident
Monday, July 24, 2017 - 6:45 am

To the Editor:

Almost 16 years ago I married a member of one of the local fire departments who also served as a basic level EMT with a local rescue squad. One of the things he always talked about was how he was not really a member of a department, but a member of a brotherhood. That those who served in emergency services were family.

In the 16 years that we have been married I have witnessed the way this family works several times. Members of different departments coming together from all over to help each other out both on and off the job.

The first time I witnessed a L.O.D.D. service was when my husband's good friend and mentor Jimmy Sullivan Jr. passed away unexpectedly. The honor and respect give to him by those that loved him and learned from him was tremendous. The fire trucks, and firefighters lined the streets of Potsdam for miles. His service was limited to standing room and his family never questioned whether they were going to be alone. It was tragic loss, but it was beautiful memorial.

Recently our county suffered another L.O.D. D. in the loss of the three gentlemen from R. B. Lawrence. One of those men being my Uncle, Rod Cota. Rod was also a long term player in the emergency services arena of St. Lawrence County and to many, may people he was a mentor, a teacher, and a friend. Someone to take them under their wing and give them a chance, like he did with my husband.

After Rod's passing the stories of his service, both with R. B. Lawrence and Potsdam Rescue started being shared. These stories help our family to understand the gravity of exactly how he affected those around him, and my Aunt and Cousins are so proud of everything he did.

Tuesday July 11, 2017 we laid my uncle to rest with an escort that consisted of approximately 43 different agencies with over 50 emergency vehicles total. Again, ambulances and fire trucks lined the streets for miles in display that was both magnificent and heartwarming. The funeral services was so full that it left some to have to stand. The bagpipes played Amazing Grace and we all cried. Rod's family will never question that they are alone.

I want to thank St. Lawrence County, our neighbors and friends all over the state, including FDNY for your amazing display of honor, respect and brotherhood. What this all means to the family cannot be expressed properly.

Heather Liebfred (Cota)