15th Anniversary Nears
 
By Member Joyce Shry
June 26, 2017
 

BY: SUSIE NICOL

July 3 will mark the 15th anniversary of the tragic death of Frederick County Firefighter Recruit Andrew Waybright.

On Monday, Chief Tom Owens placed a wreath at the spot where Waybright died that fateful day.

“At that time, discipline included the withholding of hydration…This division learned a very, very hard lesson,” he told a group of fire and rescue personnel that included recruits currently in training at the center where Waybright died.

Regardless of his worsening condition, “Recruit Waybright would not quit…He pushed through and continued on…” The heat index
that morning was 96, and recruits were involved in extensive exercises including a walk, run and wind sprints – all without water.

Waybright, a volunteer firefighter in Harney, first complained of feeling dizzy, and eventually went into cardiac arrest. His core body temperature when he got to the hospital was 107.4. He died of hyperthermia on his third day of the 20-week recruit school.

Owens said Waybright’s determination to do the job came at “a very high cost for him, his family and this organization as a whole…”
He went on to say that everyone who passes by the memorial at the entrance to the training facility knows about Waybright’s
ultimate sacrifice even if they didn’t know him personally.

The chief noted as the young recruit showed his dedication and determination to do the job, the division is committed to training safely and thereby protecting the most important asset.

Wendy Bowersox, Waybright’s close friend and EMS partner, said she was moved by the ceremony, calling it a ‘nice gesture.’