Odell honors fallen firefighter

A fallen Odell firefighter will be honored at a special ceremony in that community on Sunday.

John R. Hazlett will be remembered during the 2 p.m. unveiling and dedication of a memorial for emergency service heroes. Hazlett was the first firefighter to die in Odell’s history, as well as the first in the state since 1997.

“Since John’s death and the Sept. 11 incidents on the East Coast, our volunteers have really drawn close as a department and wanted to show their appreciation for those who have served in the past,” said Capt. Devon Wells.

On Aug. 19, 2001, Hazlett died when the fire department’s water tender he was driving on Interstate 84 had a front tire blowout. That incident caused the truck to leave the freeway and hit a tree, killing Hazlett instantly.

That accident occurred halfway through the Odell firefighters’ fundraising drive for the memorial that had been begun the previous year. Wells said that nearly $20,000 has since been donated by local businesses and residents. In addition, he said firefighters have given countless hours of their own time to the project that will be erected at 3431 Odell Hwy., in remembrance of past firefighters who gave unselfishly to their fellow citizens. The department decided to pay tribute to Hazlett just one day short of the first year mark since his death with a presentation by the Oregon Fire Service Honor Guard and a bagpipe performance.

Wells said both Rep. Patti Smith, R-Corbett, and Oregon State Fire Marshal Bob Garrison will be special guests at the one-hour event that will be followed by lunch and other refreshments.

Although the presentation is open to the public, Wells said parking at the fire station is limited to Odell volunteers and handicapped individuals. For more information, call Wells at 354-1648 or 490-6519.

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