Honoring Lieutenant Eric Wallace and Lieutenant Gregory Pickardby Representative Bill Flores
Posted on 2013-02-26
FLORES. Mr. Speaker, on February 15 and 16, a couple of weeks
ago, America lost two more heroes and dedicated first responders. On
those dates, the Bryan Fire Department responded to a fire at the
Knights of Columbus Hall in Bryan, Texas. This blaze was fierce, and
ultimately the roof collapsed, taking the lives of Lieutenant Eric
Wallace and Lieutenant Gregory Pickard. In addition, firefighters Ricky
Mantey, Jr., and Mitch Moran were critically injured during the rescue
Lieutenant Gregory Pickard was born in Guymon, Oklahoma, and eventually made his way to the great State of Texas. Pickard was a 32- year veteran of the Bryan Fire Department. During those 32 years, he served our community through one of the darkest days of our community, the collapse of the bonfire at Texas A&M University. Lieutenant Pickard served as a rescue division commander during the search and rescue of the victims and, ultimately, the 12 fallen students. He rose through the ranks and served as battalion chief from 1999 to 2005 before choosing to step back to lieutenant to finish out his career. Pickard also served as an EMT and obtained his Advanced Firefighter certificate, and he was a leader in establishing many of the current Bryan Fire Department firefighting operations.
Lieutenant Eric Wallace was born here in our Nation's capital and, just like Lieutenant Pickard, eventually found his way to Texas. He also adapted quickly to our Texas culture and became an avid hunter. Wallace was a 13-year veteran of the Bryan Fire Department, and in 2010 he received an award for bravery during a fire in 2009 from the 100 Club.
On February 20, I attended the memorial service for both of these honorable men and stood with their families and friends, their fellow first responders, and the hundreds of citizens in attendance to honor and recognize these local heroes. We all mourned, and yet we celebrated the lives of both these great men. On February 21 and February 22, Lieutenant Eric Wallace and Lieutenant Gregory Pickard were laid to rest in Marlin and Bryan, Texas.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and many friends of Lieutenant Wallace and Lieutenant Pickard. They will forever be remembered as outstanding firefighters, husbands, and devoted fathers. We thank them and their families for their service and their sacrifice for our community.
Also, our thoughts and prayers are with firefighters Ricky Mantey, Jr., and Mitch Moran, who were critically injured during the fire. We pray that our Heavenly Father will give them a speedy recovery and comfort their families.
The sacrifices of these men model the words of Jesus in John 15:13, where he said: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
God bless our first responders, and God bless America.