Firefighters Remember Fallen Brother

By Perry Russom
By Amy Lipman

February 11, 2013 Updated Feb 11, 2013 at 10:07 AM EST

The freshly fallen snow from Friday's storm created perfect conditions for the annual Firefighter Winter Games at Greek Peak.

But it wasn't the weather on which firefighters were focused. It was the memory of a brother who lost his life in the line of duty.

The Owego Fire Department was one of the groups competing in the 10th Annual Firefighter Winter Games.

"It's a brotherhood," Owego Fire Chief Jim Morris said. "Everybody is together. It's like a tight, big family."

This year, the department wore patches on their sleeves during the games to celebrate the memory of Capt. Matt Porcari. Porcari died nearly three weeks ago fighting a fire in Tioga County.

"He used to come to these games every year," Owego Fire Lt. Lee Duham said. "For us to be here, just race in his honor, means the world to us."

"You know, there's a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety, a lot of hard work that goes into firefighting," Event Organizer Doug VanEtten said. "It's nice to have a time to come together with folks who are involved in that activity."

Fire departments from across the state came to celebrate their hard work and brotherhood while competing in various relay races.

"Matt loved the tube race and stuff like that," Morris said. "Tomorrow, we're going to do broom ball. It was one of Matt's favorites."

"We are all together, we have each other's back," Dunham said. "We will do anything for each and every one of us."

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