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Big Tree volunteer firefighter? to be honored at service for fallen

Jarrett Eleam, the Big Tree volunteer firefighter who died in the line of duty Jan. 12, 2011, will be among those honored at the 31st annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service next month.

Eleam, 26, died after suffering a stroke during a training exercise. He was the first member in the history of the Big Tree Fire Company to die in the line of duty.

He is one of four New York firefighters and 80 in the nation who will be remembered at the official national service Oct. 7 at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md.

The names of those firefighters who died in the line of duty will be added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial on the academy grounds. The national tribute is sponsored by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security.

More than 6,000 people, including members of Congress, administration officials and other dignitaries, members of the fire service, and families and friends of the fallen firefighters are expected to attend the event.

Families will receive flags flown over the U.S. Capitol and the National Memorial. Members of the fire service, honor guard units, and pipe and drum units from across the U.S. will participate in the tribute.

Eleam and other firefighters were taking part in a training exercise with self-contained breathing apparatus, where they maneuvered around a maze set up in a controlled environment in the fire company's banquet hall. Eleam had finished and was relaxing, waiting for others to finish, when he became ill and was taken to Mercy Hospital. He died several days later.