Thank you from the family of Capt. Michael Bell

first_imgOur family is rather private, so it’s been challenging for us to navigate our father’s passing because he lost his life in such a tragic, public way. He was a very humble man, so in keeping with his wishes, our family plans to mourn him privately. This is what our hearts are guiding us to do.Capt. Michael Bell (Photo from the Town of Farmington’s website)He was not only our father, but also a public servant, a member of the close knit community of Farmington and part of a larger brotherhood of firefighters and first responders. While we’ve chosen to mourn privately, we also recognize the need for others to honor him, and the other victims, to begin healing from the tragedy that has occurred. With our full support, the Farmington Fire Department in coordination with the Maine State Police Honor Guard and I.M.A.C teams, the Fire Chiefs L.A.S.T response team will be organizing a public tribute event at some point in the future, once all of the injured have returned home and are able to participate.The fire service has been a huge part of our father’s life for the past 35 years. He loved being a firefighter and it provides a bit of solace knowing that he died doing something that was so important to him. He was our hero, not because of how he died, but because of the way he lived his life every day.We would like to express our gratitude for what we witnessed on Tuesday during our long drive to bring our dad back to Farmington from the State Medical Examiner’s office in Augusta. We were amazed at the public outpouring of support and were comforted by what we saw, from the Honor Guard that watched over him day and night, the Maine State Police, in particular Trooper Bob Burke who handled our father’s transfer with such dignity and sensitivity, the many firefighters and police officers who escorted us back home, the K9 officers perched on a cliff overlooking the motorcade, the solo bagpiper in Belgrade Lakes, and the woman mounted on her horse carrying an American flag as we passed the Farmington fairgrounds.He was welcomed home by aerial ladders with a hanging American flag and countless emergency services personnel who saluted him upon his return and offered their heartfelt condolences. We were so moved by the people lining the streets in salute, with hands held over hearts, holding flags and handmade signs thanking our dad for his service. To all of you who participated in Tuesday’s procession, please know that we SAW you as we passed by and we FELT your honor for him and your love.A special thank you to our cousin TJ Bell. His own father, Chief Terry Bell, was critically injured in Monday’s tragic event, yet TJ selflessly left his parents to escort our father’s body back home on Tuesday. TJ, we hope you know that we are so proud of the way you represented the Bell family.We would also like to thank the many individuals who helped coordinate the procession, including Police Chief Jack Peck, Sheriff Scott Nichols, Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis, Deputy EMA Manager Amanda Simoneau, NorthStar EMS Director Mike Senecal, County Communications Director CL Folsom, Firefighter Stephan Bunker, acting Fire Chief Timothy Hardy, and Chaplain Stan Wheeler. We are especially touched that given how incredibly busy Tim, Steve and Stan have been in the wake of this incident, they’ve made themselves available to us and have taken time to look after our needs. Their protection, counsel and dedication to us have been unwavering.Thank you to Rhonda Wiles-Rosell at the Wiles Remembrance Center for guiding us through this difficult time. We also thank JP Fortier for capturing such wonderful images of our dad and producing such a touching video tribute to him, and the State Police I.M.A.C. for creating the Farmington Fire Department website. We also thank the many employees at the Town of Farmington offices, and the highway crew who have supported the community throughout this ordeal.Thank you to the Farmington Fire Dept., Farmington Police Dept., Franklin County 911 Dispatchers and to first responders everywhere for putting the needs of others before your own each and every day. Fire departments from across Maine have stepped in to assist the Farmington Fire Dept. and families of victims in their time of need. We are also grateful for the heroic civilians who assisted at the scene. Thank you ALL for working tirelessly during your time of pain to make sure the needs of others are being met.We are very grateful for the greater Farmington community. Many local businesses and individuals have provided endless donations of food & water and money to lend their support. We may not always know who is behind the scenes, but please know your acts of kindness to our family, the fire department and to those effected are so truly appreciated.Lastly we want to thank family, friends and acquaintances who were not with us this week, but will be with us in the days ahead as we try to move on. We appreciate the kind phone calls, messages and heartfelt gestures of support. We are in awe of his brotherhood of firefighters from afar and many others who did not know him personally, yet are paying tribute to him by sharing touching photos with us, changing your profile pictures to a shrouded badge or honoring his memory at your events. Please know that these sentiments are not unnoticed, they are wrapping us with a virtual hug that is very much appreciated.On behalf of our mother Diana Bell, and our entire family, we want to offer our love and support to the Firefighters, L.E.A.P. maintenance supervisor and families of all those who were injured or displaced on Monday. Many of these people are our family and friends. Please pray for them all. Their road to physical and emotional recovery will be long and they need our support.If anyone wishes to lend financial support, please consider making a donation to:Farmington Fireman’s Benevolent FundIn Memory of Captain Michael Bell153 Farmington Falls RdFarmington, ME 04938https://www.franklinsavings.bank/special.htmlor scan the QR code below with your smartphone camera or QR scannerMichelle Fish, Danielle Flannery & Sara Bell(daughters of fallen firefighter Capt. Michael Bell)last_img

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