Dynamo to honor Houston Fire Department and the four fallen firefighters

Eric Christian Smith

Saturday's clash between the Houston Dynamo and Toronto FC is more than just a battle of two Eastern Conference teams. The Dynamo will pay tribute to the four Houston Fire Department's fallen firefighters in a number of special ways.

I would love for each and every Dynamo fan and reader of Dynamo Theory to make it out to every game at BBVA Compass Stadium. But I know that's not exactly a realistic thought.

But every once in awhile a game comes along that deserves a full house - even if it's not necessarily for the soccer.

On Saturday, June 22 (this upcoming Saturday), the Houston Dynamo are hosting Toronto FC. What was once just a battle between two Eastern Conference teams has now become something more. Something that I think all of us should support. This isn't one of those issues where people jump to one side or another and have stressful debates over - this is simply supporting people that put their lives on the line for each and every one of us and honoring the fallen.

On May 31, the Houston Fire Department lost four of their own in the line of duty.

Losing one life is difficult enough, but four of these brave men and women were lost while searching for victims in a motel fire. It was the darkest day in HFD history.

Fire Station 51 (near Bellaire and Bintliff), and Fire Station 68 (near Bissonnet and Gessner) each lost two firefighters each that Friday.

"We arrived on the scene and about 14 minutes after our arrival we had a mayday," said HFD Chief Terry Garrison. "There's no way that I would have anticipated that we would lose four firefighters. I want to tell the residents of Houston their firefighters acted absolutely courageously today, that there was probably a dozen acts of heroism on that scene."

The fallen heroes were:

Captain EMT Matthew Renaud (35) of Station 51
Engineer Operator EMT Robert Bebee (41) of Station 51
Firefighter EMT Robert Garner (29) of Station 68
Probationary Firefighter Anne Sullivan (24) of Station 68

Last Friday, Dynamo President Chris Canetti and a handful of Dynamo players visited both fire stations to pay tribute to the fallen firefighters and to honor the current ones who are coping with the loss of a friend and partner.

Dynamo TV put together a nice video that highlighted the team's visit to the fire stations.

HFD District Chief John Seamans said a couple of powerful statements near the end of the video.

"The worst thing that can happen is for us to lose one of our people. We're not gonna get over that for a long, long time."

In response to the Dynamo visiting the fire stations, Seamans continued, "It gives these guys a short period of time when they can be up for a minute instead of being down all the time."

On Saturday as Houston hosts Toronto, the Dynamo will honor the Houston Fire Department and the four fallen firefighters. If there is ever a time to come together as a soccer community and pack BBVA Compass Stadium this season, it is now.

No empty orange seats. If you can't attend, drop your tickets off at a local fire station.

If you are not a season ticket holder, purchase tickets with the link in this article. $25 gets you in the game, a commemorative t-shirt, and a post game meet and greet with Tally Hall, whose father is a firefighter.

The tribute will include moments to honor the fallen firefighters and their families, a fundraiser to benefit the 100 Club Survivors Fund and a commemorative patch on the Dynamo game jerseys. The game worn jerseys will be available in an online auction (link below).

HPD District Chief made it clear that support like the Dynamo are providing matters to them and says the community has been incredibly supportive.

"Someone asked me the other day am I about to fall down. I said I couldn't fall down if I wanted to, there is a thousand people behind me to catch me," he said.

Dynamo fans - come out and come out strong. Let's support our orange as we always do, but most importantly on Saturday, let's support the Houston Fire Department and honor how they selflessly put themselves in harm's way for others each and every day.

Many thanks to Chris Canetti and the Dynamo players for visiting the fire stations, taking the firefighter's minds off this terrible tragedy (even if it's for a brief moment), and honoring these heroes on Saturday.

There is a reason why Dynamo fans support the way we do - this is a world class organization that always seems to do the right thing and set the right example.

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