Fallen Rostraver firefighter will be honored at national memorial
Michael Godzak joined the Rostraver Township Volunteer Fire Department as a junior member at 12 years old.
For the next 47 years, the Belle Vernon native rose through its ranks, serving a stint as chief for nine years in the 1980s and early ’90s. On April 29, 2018, Godzak was driving a fire truck back from a routine call when he suffered a medical emergency and died.
Godzak will be among 119 firefighters honored by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation at its 38th annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service on Oct. 6 in Emmitsburg, Md.
The service is part of National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, which includes an Oct. 5 candlelight service during which a bronze plaque bearing the names of 92 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2018 and an additional 27 from previous years will be added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial.
“The permanence of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial is a constant testament to the ultimate sacrifice of our courageous fallen,” said Troy Markel, chairman of the NFFF board of directors. “As we gather together to honor and to pay tribute to our fallen firefighters’ selfless devotion to service, (the) memorial weekend is a time for us as a nation and a fire service to pause and reflect on their sacrifice and to honor and grieve for the loss their families, friends and fellow firefighters continue to endure.”
More than 5,000 people, including families, friends, members of Congress, government officials and firefighters are expected to attend the memorial service. Firefighter honor guards and pipe-and-drum units from across the United States will participate.
A live satellite feed of the ceremonies can be viewed during the weekend at Live.firehero.org. For a complete list of events, see Weekend.firehero.org.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .