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Six Arizonans among honorees at 2022 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial

This year's ceremony features a roll of honor for 148 firefighters who died in the line of duty last year
Posted at 5:05 PM, Oct 07, 2022

Hundreds of families from across the country have lost loved ones who served their communities as firefighters. This weekend, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation will honor those who died in the line of duty over the last year. Six from Arizona are on the list.

David Stutzman spent 35 years putting out fires in Peoria. He started in the early 1980s when the department was just volunteer.

"When he was growing up, he was one of the kids who used to chase the fire trucks down the road while on a bicycle just to go watch them," said Aaron Stutzman.

Aaron's dad was one of the first to join the department when it became professional. The elder Stutzman had the honor of receiving badge #2.

"I did not find out about his seniority, or his level of position, until I was actually testing for the department myself. I heard from other guys from all over the department telling me. He was a very humble guy,” added Stutzman.

Aaron's badge with Peoria Fire-Medical Department is #229.

"For me, it was like a life-long-dream completed. In a sense, because I wanted to follow the firefighter's code,” added Stutzman.

David Stutzman retired from the department in 2014. He died in 2021 from job-related cancer.

This weekend, Aaron, along with his brother who is also a fireman and their mom, will be in Maryland for the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial ceremonies.

"I am ready. It's just a very cool thing to have him forever honored and engrained inside that memorial,” added Stutzman.

Angela Madrid and her two small children will also be at the ceremony in honor of Mesa Fire and Medical firefighter Trevor C. Madrid who also died of cancer linked to the job.

"I've heard from others this is the most amazing experience, but very emotional, too,” said Madrid.

She and Trevor were together for 14 years and married for nine.

"It's hard. Like, sometimes, it is even hard to call myself a widow. But, I am grasping it,” added Madrid.

This year's ceremony features a roll of honor for 148 firefighters who died in the line of duty last year. Six are from Arizona.

"They do an amazing job of acknowledging it. I think it is important, especially for our kids, so they can see their dad was important. They won't get to see them regularly retire or anything like that. So, it is nice they have this memory, so they can always go to the wall and see his name on there,” added Madrid.