Memorial Service Information

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Memorial Bell

The Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association (FFCA) has a tradition of honoring the memory of all members and Five Bugle Fire Chiefs who have passed within the previous year during the annual Executive Development Conference. This page will serve to provide family and friends of the honorees with details regarding the service. Please direct any questions or comments to Liz Aperauch at [email protected] or call 850-900-5180.

Location and Time
Prayer Breakfast
Memorial Service
Memorial Information Needed
Family Waiting Room
Dress Code
Hotel Reservations

 In Memoriam

The FFCA has received notification that the following 5 Bugle Chiefs and FFCA members passed away since the last service. While not all families will be present at the 2023 Memorial Service, we would like to acknowledge and express our gratitude for the contributions these individuals made to the fire service community. If you are aware of someone who has not been included on this list, please contact Liz Aperauch at [email protected]. To allow for proper planning, the deadline for names to be received in time for the 2023 service was May 15, 2023.

Name Title
Daryle Blankenship  Battalion Chief, Titusville Fire Department
Regi Burkett Fire Chief-Ret, Century Station, Escambia County Fire Rescue
Edwin Castro Fire Chief-Ret, Key West
Thomas Davis Fire Chief-Ret, Tallahassee Fire Department
Lloyd Fleming Fire Chief-Ret, Pensacola Fire Department
David Halstead Director - Ret, Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM)
Paul Hoffmon Fire Chief-Ret, Seminole Fire Rescue
James McConnell Fire Chief-Ret, Seminole Fire Rescue
Dennis Merrifield Fire Chief-Ret
Willie Morgan Fire Chief-Ret, Groveland
Wayne Watts Fire Chief-Ret, Panama City Fire Department
Michael Wright Fire Chief-Ret, Niceville


Locations & Times

The Prayer Breakfast will be held on Sunday, July 16 at 8:00 AM in the Orchid Ballroom, and the Memorial Service will follow at 9:30 AM in Royal Palm IV-V.

Prayer Breakfast

The Prayer Breakfast is an opportunity to gather before the service, enjoy a light breakfast and fellowship of the firefighting community before the memorial service. Two family members are invited to attend the prayer breakfast complimentary as a guest of the FFCA. Additional guests are welcome to attend and may purchase tickets by registering as a Guest/Spouse/Partner, choose None from Guest Program Selection, then entering a quantity of tickets on the Add-on Options page. Additional Prayer Breakfast tickets are $35 per person.

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Memorial Service

The Memorial Service is a solemn ceremony that is opened by the Pipes and Drums and Honor Guard, followed by a ceremony to recognize the contributions and legacy of the honorees. One family member or representative for each individual being recognized is seated in the front row of the Memorial Service. During the ceremony, each are presented with a memorial plaque and flower in recognition of our fallen as the final bell is ceremoniously struck. There is no cost to attend the Memorial Service, and no limit to the number of guests you may bring.

Memorial Information Needed

During the service, the chaplain will read a brief biography with a picture of the honoree displayed on a large screen.

Family members are invited to submit a preferred photo to use. For best results, the picture should be a high-resolution headshot with an aspect ratio of 3 wide by 4 tall.

FFCA staff can write a biography using information typically found in bereavement notices and obituaries or, if preferred, a family member may submit one they have written. Due to time constraints, the word count is limited to approximately 100 words, which can be difficult. FFCA is available to help with any wording or messaging.

The name on the memorial plaque will be the name provided through the bereavement notice or obituary unless the family requests there be a different name. Please let Liz Aperauch, [email protected], know as soon as possible if there is a different name, such as a nickname, to be used on the memorial plaque.

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Waiting Room

Members of the FFCA Board of Directors will be waiting in the main hall to greet family members and provide them with support and guidance during the event. Since conference attendees generally gather in the main hall before the prayer breakfast, this area tends to be quite loud. Family members who prefer to spend quiet time together before the Prayer Breakfast or Memorial Service are invited to gather in Acacia I-II. Light refreshments and coffee will be made available for families in this room.

Dress Code

We ask that Fire Service personnel dress in their Class A uniforms. Semi-formal is recommended for all other attendees.

Hotel Reservations

If hotel accommodations are needed, visit to make on-line reservations or call 844-489-9663 and ask for the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association group reservations rate to receive our negotiated group rate of $209 per night (based on single/double and availability, special rate ends June 23, 2023 or until block is sold out). Please don’t wait, these rooms are going fast and we have no guarantee that we’ll be able to increase our room block or secure overflow off-site once the host hotel is sold out.

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