WORCESTER, Mass. - Heroic, fallen Worcester fire Lt. Jason Menard was given the highest honor bestowed to a firefighter on Monday during his funeral. The Martin E. Pierce Commemorative Line-of-Duty Death Medal was presented to his wife and three children by members of the International Association of Fire Fighters.
Earlier in the morning, thousands of first responders lined the streets to honor Menard during a procession to St. John's church. A post-funeral procession to St. John's Cemetery then left the church for a private burial.
It's the second day of goodbyes for family, friends and fellow firefighters from around the country as they honor the 39-year-old Worcester native who died last week after his crew ran into a burning home on Stockholm Street to look for a baby who was reportedly trapped on the third floor. Menard saved two other firefighters but was unable to escape the fire.
On Sunday, hundreds of people waited in line to pay their final respects at Menard's wake at the Mercadante Funeral Home. All week, people have been visiting the McKeon Road fire station, where Menard worked with Ladder 5.
Flag flies at half staff over a memorial for Lt. Jason Menard at @WorcesterFD Station 5. His comrades are getting ready for his funeral at 11 AM. They tell me he was kind, personable, and selfless @boston25 pic.twitter.com/NibINW8epR— Julianne Lima (@JulianneLimaTV) November 18, 2019
Menard was a 10-year veteran of the Worcester Fire Department and had been promoted to lieutenant last year.
Fire Departments from surrounding towns will be staffing firehouses throughout Worcester on Monday so that all Worcester firefighters are able to attend Menard's funeral.
The time has come to say goodbye to a hero.♥ Thank you, Lt. Jason Menard for your bravery and commitment to serve. You will never be forgotten. https://t.co/95wYMCA3r2 #boston25 #Worcesterfire #WorcesterMA #LtJasonMenard pic.twitter.com/vQKjOom2wR— Boston 25 News (@boston25) November 18, 2019
This is the second time a Worcester firefighter has died in the line of duty in just the past year. In December, the community gathered at the same church to honor 36-year-old Christopher Roy, who died fighting a five-alarm fire on Lowell Street. Worcester has lost nine firefighters in line of duty deaths in the past two decades.
One of the firefighters Menard helped save from the fire, Chris Pace, remains hospitalized and has a long recovery ahead, officials said at a Sunday news conference.
On Monday, Philip Boroughs, president of the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, said that the college has pledged to cover tuition for Lt. Menard's three children if they are accepted to Holy Cross.
How to help
Donations to help Menard's children are now being accepted through the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts Foundation. One hundred percent of the money donated to the Menard Children's Fund will go directly to Menard's family.
Donations can be made online or mailed to: Worcester Fire Department Credit Union, 34 Glennie St., Worcester, MA 01605. Checks should be made payable to: PFFM Foundation c/o The Menard Children's Fund.
A New York City charity, Tunnel to Towers, which helps support the family of first responders killed in the line of duty, is helping to pay off the Menard family's mortgage through fundraising. You can donate here.
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