Pooh memorial dedicated
On a beautiful fall day, nearly two years after the passing of Lieutenant Arlie “Pooh” Hill, the life and sacrifice of the Whitley City firefighter was honored during a special ceremony at the firehouse where he served.
Family, friends and his fellow firefighters paid tribute to Hill Saturday with the unveiling of a memorial monument and the dedication of the new training facility in his honor.
The monument, a granite obelisk adorned with the now iconic photo of Pooh and the date of his “last call,” will serve as proud testament to the fallen brother, father and husband by the station where he proudly served as a volunteer firefighter.
Clad in their dress blues, the members of the Whitley City Fire Department, along with representatives from other uniformed services, opened the ceremony with a solemn march past the monument
Several guest speakers took time to remember Hill and share their memories of the man whose spirit will live on.
Amy Wilson, Pooh’s sister, spoke about her younger brother – the fun loving youth that grew into a strong man who loved his family and lived to serve his community both as a firefighter and as a medic.
Both Tony Lehman, from the Cincinnati Fire Department and Jason Bowling of the Burlington Fire Protection District, who helped provide comfort and aid to the Hill family and members of the Whitley City Fire Department during the 59-days he was hospitalized, read letters of support from their respective chiefs and talked of the bonds they had made with the family during the trying time.
Tank Lawson, Hill’s boss at the South Fork Medical Clinic, gave testimony to the work ethic of his employee and urged everyone to remember all the good the man known as Pooh accomplished.
A somber Whitley City Fire Department Chief Tony Miller spoke of Pooh’s sacrifice and the special gift he had to brighten the life of all he came across.
“He loved his family above all, and brought that love of family to the fire service,” he said.
The ceremony closed with a “3-3-3” tolling of the bells.
Traditionally, when a fire alarm came to an end, and the firefighters returned to the house, the bell would ring three times to signal the end. The “3-3-3” reflects that a firefighter has finished his-her tasks, “duties well done, and the bell rings three times in memory of, and in tribute to, his-her life and service.
Following the ceremony, a special presentation was made to Eric Johnson of the Supporting Heroes foundation.
The Whitley City Fire Department raised $5,000 to donate to the organization that provided care and comfort for Lt. Hill’s family and members of the Whitley City Fire Department throughout Hill’s hospitalization and beyond.
A second donation was presented to Johnson by the Brothers Keepers Motorcycle Club, who raised $1,000 during their annual bike ride in honor of Hill.