In the Line of Duty

Six New Jersey fallen firefighters to be honored at National Memorial Service on Sunday, October 6.

The U.S. Fire Service will honor six firefighters, who died in the line of duty, from New Jersey during the 38th National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service on Sunday, October 6.They are among the 92 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2018 and 27 firefighters who died in previous years who will be remembered at the official national service at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD.

More than 5,000 people, including families, friends, members of Congress, Administration officials and firefighters are expected to attend on Sunday. Firefighter Honor Guards and Pipe & Drum units from across the U.S. will participate in this national remembrance.

The six from New Jersey include Firefighter Natalie N. Dempsey, age 21, of the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company, died on December 25, 2018, from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident on the way to the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company to respond to a structure fire.

Her name and the others will be added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial on the Academy grounds. The national tribute is sponsored by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Fire Administration.

In the early hours of Christmas morning, 2018, Natalie lost control of her car on the way to her firehouse after receiving the call for a structure fire.

Natalie attended Hutto High School in Hutto, Texas. During high school, she played the drums in marching band and was part of the media club. She loved videoing the football games and running the Jumbotron at all the home games. Natalie graduated from Hutto High School in 2016.

After graduation, her family moved back home to New Jersey to be closer to family. This is where Natalie chose to become a volunteer firefighter with the Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company. In 2018, Natalie was nominated and voted in as vice president of the firehouse. It’s at the firehouse that Natalie found her second family and her passion for helping others.

In summer of 2018, Natalie began her pursuit of becoming a police officer. She worked very hard to accomplish this goal and had recently taken the police physical exam test. Natalie’s ultimate goal in life was to become a K9 police officer.

Natalie’s passion for others also included helping animals. She was employed as a supervisor at the Atlantic County Humane Society. She loved all the staff and especially loved helping find forever homes for the many animals she cared for.

Others from New Jersey to be honored on Sunday:

• Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Gene M. Dannenfelser, age 59, of the Camden County Fire Marshal’s Office, died on November 8, 2017, from an illness related to his response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

• Chief Engineer Pasquale DiBenedetto, age 68, of the Englishtown Fire Department, died on August 2, 2018, after suffering a stroke within hours of responding to the station for an activated carbon monoxide detector and remaining there for any additional calls.

• Firefighter Michael G. Galay, age 71, of the Green Knoll Fire Company, died on November 22, 2018, from a medical emergency after hours of responding on calls and assisting with the arrival of a new engine company.

• Firefighter Craig A. Maull, age 71, of the Haddon Fire Company No. 1, died on December 21, 2017, after being found at home within 24 hours of responding to several emergency calls.

• Firefighter Thomas Miserendino, age 71, of the Beachwood Volunteer Fire Company #1, died on June 4, 2015, after becoming ill while participating in the department’s annual Memorial Day activities. n

For a complete list of fallen firefighters being honored and a widget to display their information on your website, along with Memorial Weekend related videos, photos, media and broadcast information go to firehero.org.

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