SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — We see a lot of holiday light displays around Hampton Roads this time of year. There’s one in Suffolk that has a special meaning, and it’s a labor of love for a local firefighter.
Six years ago, Bill Price lost his dad, who had just retired from being a police officer. That year, his family went through their first Christmas without him. So Price decided to do something for other families going through their first holiday season without a loved one.
It’s taken months of work inside Price’s kitchen, painting the ornaments for the “Fallen Heroes Tree.”
“Each person has a story,” Price said. “All those names on that tree, everybody just got up and went to work.”
So far, he’s painted 263 ornaments for the police officers, firefighters, K9 officers, and 911 first responders who died in 2018.
Price said, “We hope we don’t use the extras we have, but we’ve already used them up.”
It’s the second year Price put the tree up to honor those who lost their lives while protecting us.
“All those guys out on the tree, this is their family’s first Christmas without them so I thought it was important to do something like this to let those families know, hey those guys aren’t forgotten, it’s not just you who misses them on Christmas,” Price said.
Names come from across the state and from around the country.
“This is a Virginia firefighter, this is a Virginia K9, see the little paw,” Price said. “Not only are they tragic, but they’re very sudden a lot of them. You don’t expect to not come home from work.”
He hopes people take the time to see the tree and reflect on what it means.
Price said, “Remember the names that are hanging on the tree. Reflect on what these guys are doing, these men and women were doing when they lost their lives, they were protecting everybody in the community. Respect not only those who have died but those guys who are doing the job today.”
You can visit the Fallen Heroes Tree at 2000 Brians Lane in Suffolk.