WATERVILLE — Lawrence Goding, 88, was 1 1/2 years old when his father, Millard C. Goding, died in the line of duty in 1929 serving as a member of the Waterville Fire Department. He doesn’t have memories of his father, but on Sunday he watched as the Waterville community gathered to honor the service of those like his father at the unveiling ceremony of a new Waterville Fire/Rescue Memorial monument. The name of Goding’s father is now etched in stone along with the names of 20 other active-duty Waterville firefighters who have died since 1900, to be remembered for their service to the community.

Millard C. Goding is one of three firefighters on the memorial who died in the line of duty. In his fourth month with Company 1 of the Waterville Fire Department, he was killed at the age of 35 while responding to a call in Clinton when the firetruck he was riding in collided with an electric car in Fairfield.

“As a family member, we know how he died, but so many in the community had no idea,” Debby Manning, Lawrence Goding’s daughter, said Sunday. “The great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren of Millard now have something as a legacy marking that this is what happened.”

The 1 p.m. unveiling ceremony drew a large crowd to the Waterville Fire Department on College Avenue. Fire Chief David LaFountain, Lt. Scott Holst and Mayor Nick Isgro spoke during the ceremony, honoring those who have served and continue to serve as first responders in Waterville. The ceremony also featured the national anthem, four firefighters serving as honor guards and opening and closing prayers. LaFountain read the 21 names of the individuals on the memorial prior to the memorial being unveiled.

Holst, the department’s historian, wrote a book about the department’s history and through his research found the names of the deceased firefighters.

The 6-foot-tall, 80-inch-wide, red-and-gray granite monument near the entrance to the fire station was made by Provost Monuments, of Benton, and cost $8,500. Firefighters collected money for the monument through fundraisers, including an open house last year and the sale of Holst’s book, “History of the Waterville Fire Department, 1809-2015.” A donor who wanted to remain anonymous also contributed to the effort with a matching gift.

“Everyone worked hard on this memorial from the very beginning, and it’s something we can all be proud of,” Holst said in his remarks. “This dedication ceremony is a time to set apart a particular place in order to honor and memorialize those firefighters who have served their community with the selfless act of bravery and compassion.”

Holst said firefighters come from all walks of life, but share an inherent set of qualities: courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty and integrity. Taken together, these are the qualities one needs to serve a cause greater than one’s self, he said.

Regardless of whether a person has the name of a loved one on the memorial or knows a firefighter, Holst said the message of service it sends can resonate with everyone in the community. Those who spoke said the memorial can teach lessons to children and future firefighters about the legacy of service put forth by the fire department.

In his remarks Isgro said that first responders were the “very definition of servant leaders.” Isgro recalled that one day recently, while he was at work and his wife was outside playing with their 3-year-old son, members of the Waterville Fire Department who were returning from a fire call took the time to stop and flash the firetruck’s lights for his son. The firefighters then got out of the truck to give Isgro’s son a sticker.

“(My son) spent the rest of the day pretending he was rescuing other people,” Isgro said.

With the fire department holding an open house prior to the ceremony that featured family-oriented games and fun, children in plastic firefighter’s hats dotted the audience as the speakers addressed the future of firefighters who will continue to serve Waterville.

“By recognizing these sacrifices, present and future members will see the Waterville Fire Department has a great history in traditions that reach into the city’s historic past,” LaFountain said.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate


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