Not even 10 minutes into a memorial service to honor York City's dead firefighters, pagers sounded, echoing in St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church on Sunday and sending some of the city's bravest on a call for a medical emergency.
A few minutes later, a second call — this one for a fire alarm — came in, sending additional attending firefighters to their waiting rigs.
As sirens on the trucks outside wailed, Pastor Kevin Shively paused in his homily to joke that the firefighters are likely relieved to not have to sit through his sermon.
For firefighters, the job always beckons, even as they attempt to pause for an hour or so to remember their comrades who died within the past year.
"What you do, what those who did before you, is so needed. You are needed and you are appreciated, whether you know it or not," Shively told the firefighters.
The service: The memorial service was the 138th such held by the city fire department.
A bell tolled 14 times, once for each name read during the service, which included bagpipe music by The Kiltie Band of York.
None of the honored firefighters died in the line of duty, said Chief David Michaels.
"It's a tradition that we do to honor those who gave service to the city," he said.
The work of a firefighter can often be tiresome, gruesome and thankless. But Shively pointed out during his homily that their work is necessary.
Shively said he was contacted recently by a church member whose father was badly burned in an incident at his home.
The congregant asked for prayers for her family and her father and ended her text message to Shively with "Praise God" for the firefighters and medics who saved her father's life, the pastor said.
There to honor: Among the men in their firefighter uniforms and other attendees in their Sunday bests was a group of men in black leather motorcycle jackets.
Members of the Two Five 3 Ryders, a motorcycle club based in York City, attended the service to honor the firefighters, said club founder and president Gregg Clark.
The club, mainly made up of former military service members, has taken part in other events to show support for police officers and firefighters, said Rolando Cruz, its co-founder and vice president.
"We do a lot of this stuff," he said. "This is what we do."
John P. Brandenbury Jr.
Fred E. Miller
E. Hayden Mitchell
Harold S. Boyer
Gary G. Klinefelter
Harry Smith Jr.
Norman L. Garrett
Theodore E. Carpenter
David A. Davidson
Richard C. Strickhouser
Gerald "Jerry" E. Rohrbaugh
Doris M. Hoke
Tedd A. Keefer Sr.
— Reach Greg Gross at email@example.com.