Palm Coast Fire Department Dedicates Fire Engine to Fallen Hero

The Palm Coast Fire Department hosted a Gold Star Dedication ceremony in which they dedicated a Fire Engine 23 in memory of Army Sergeant Luke Stanford this past weekend. The ceremony took place at Fire Station 25 with the family and friends of Sergeant Stanford, Gold Star Families, and Fire Department personnel.
The Fire Department took delivery of a 2024 E-One Typhoon earlier this year. The Fire Engine was placed into front-line service at Fire Station 23, affectionately known as Indian Trails, located at 5750 Belle Terre Parkway.
Army Sergeant Luke Stanford was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and graduated from Newington High School in 1998. He attended the University of Tampa and later settled in the Orlando area before enlisting in the United States Army in 2004. He completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and was assigned to Charlie Company, 16th Engineer Battalion.
In January 2006, he was deployed to Tal Afar, Iraq, where his unit conducted numerous mounted and dismounted patrols. In September, his platoon moved south to Ramadi to complete their tour. He re-enlisted and was serving with the 911th Engineer Company Technical Rescue at the time of his death. Promoted to Sergeant for his leadership skills and knowledge, he led the Alpha Team of the 911th. He aspired to complete his degree and had promising plans to join the ATF. He was proudly serving his country until his sudden passing on October 4, 2008.
For Tim and Carmen Stanford, a Gold Star Family, Memorial Day is a day marked by pain and a poignant reminder of their loss. Despite their grief and challenges, the Stanfords have dedicated themselves to giving back to their community and educating the nation about the true meaning of Memorial Day. They have kept Luke’s memory and legacy alive in their daily lives. Since moving to Palm Coast, Tim and Carmen have instilled a sense of civic and patriotic duty in their daughter Emma. Together, they established EmmaLovesK9s, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports retired K-9s and their handlers with food and medical expenses. Emma’s passion inspired state leaders to create the Care for Retired Police Dog Program through Senate Bill 226, which Governor DeSantis signed into law in June 2022.
The idea for dedicating a fire truck to the memory of a Fallen Solider was proposed by Driver Engineer Paramedic Christopher Strozier, who is a Navy Veteran. Driver Engineer Strozier stated, “We often forget why we have the rights and freedoms we do. Dedicating the fire engine to the memory of Gold Star Families is a small way to show our appreciation for what they have sacrificed.”
“We are incredibly proud that Sergeant Stanford’s memory will now accompany Palm Coast Fire Engine 23 as they strive to deliver the best service to our community every time. They protect the lives and property of our residents and restore stability in times of chaos,” said Fire Chief Kyle Berryhill.
A Gold Star Family is the immediate family member(s) of a service member who has lost his or her life in the line of duty. The title dates back to World War I when military families displayed service flags featuring a blue star for every immediate family member serving in the Armed Forces. The star’s color would be changed to gold if the family lost a loved one in the war. In 1928, Grace Darling, a Gold Star Mother, founded American Gold Star Mothers along with a group of 25 other grieving mothers.
The Fire Department plans each Memorial Day to dedicate a fire apparatus to a Gold Star Recipient whose name is inscribed in the Veterans Memorial at Heroes Memorial Park.  In 2021, Ladder 25 was dedicated to the memory of Marine Sergeant Zachary J Walters; in 2022, Engine 21 was dedicated to the memory of Marine Lance Corporal John T. Schmidt III and in 2023, Engine 24 was dedicated to the memory of Army Corporal Raheen Tyson Heighter.
By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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