'We do not forget our fallen': MFD, families honor the lives of fallen Milwaukee firefighters

NOW: ’We do not forget our fallen’: MFD, families honor the lives of fallen Milwaukee firefighters

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Since 1860, there have been 143 firefighters who have lost their lives serving their community. On Thursday, the Milwaukee Fire Department honored those lost with the 27th annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial Recognition.

"We weep for our fallen," said Milwaukee Fire Department Chief Aaron Lipski. "We do not forget our fallen."

Kate Nell's father, Walter Nell, lost his life in a crash while responding to a fire call back in 1977.

For the past 27 years, his daughter, who was just two weeks old at the time of his death, has visited the Last Call Memorial outside the Milwaukee Fire Department's Headquarters and has attended the Fallen Firefighter Memorial program as a way to connect with her dad.

"Honor and memory are just, for me, the closest thing I've ever had to my dad," Nell explained. "I stand up in honor, I stand up in memory and I stand up for those who are still serving. Those who are going to be up and coming in legacy to serve our city.

While honoring those lost, Chief Lipski made it a point to address the health and mental health challenges firefighters are facing today.

"We have seen it take an absolutely horrible toll," Chief Lipski said. "We desperately need to change that."

The chief also addressed the bravery of those who have and continue to serve when the fire alarm sounds.

"Your firefighters, every day, willingly walk, crawl, run into horribly hazardous environments," Chief Lipski said. "I'm the luckiest person on the planet because I get to lead the Milwaukee Fire Department in its pursuit to do those things."

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