Victor Vega, the beloved firefighter who served Richmond for 32 years before he lost his battle with job-related cancer on Nov. 7, 2005, was added to the California Firefighters Memorial Wall in Sacramento during an emotional ceremony Saturday attended by hundreds of people, including members of Vega’s family, colleagues, and state leaders including Gov. Gavin Newsom.
It was the California Fire Foundation’s (CFF) annual memorial ceremony and procession. The distinction honors the memory of the fallen firefighters’ heroism.
Vega’s name was etched alongside those of more than 1,500 California firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty since California became a state in 1850, according to the CFF.
The Sacramento Philharmonic String Quartet performed at the event, while Dennis Rodriguez from the Los Angeles County Fire Department sang the National Anthem, organizers said. A formal presentation of the U.S. flag was made to the families of those whose names were added to the Memorial Wall. After the ceremony, guests participated in a memorable procession to the Memorial Wall in Sacramento’s historic Capitol Park, according to the CFF.
“The outdoor procession featured over a dozen firefighting apparatus lining 13th Street, a ‘sea of blue’ with hundreds of firefighters from across California, the Pipes and Drums of California Professional Firefighters, honor guards from dozens of fire departments, the families of fallen firefighters from across the state, and dignitaries,” officials aid.
Along with Vega’s family, members of Richmond Firefighters Local 188, which represents city firefighters, attended Saturday. Local 188 President Mike Velazquez attended to honor Vega and the other fallen firefighters and also as member of the Cal-LAST color guard. Members of the union described the ceremony as “emotional.”
“We are happy that closure has been finally brought to the Vega family, and will continue to support them in anyway possible,” the firefighters union stated on Facebook. “Thank you for your sacrifice you made on behalf of the citizens of Richmond, you will always be remembered.”