Rotary clubs remember Charleston 9 firefighters

The East Cooper Breakfast Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Charleston present a bronze plaque to the city of Charleston honoring those who died in the Sofa Super Store fire in June. Engineer John Winn (left) and firefighter David Steed unveil the plaque

The Rotary Clubs of District 7770 on Tuesday presented the city of Charleston with a bronze plaque honoring the nine firefighters who died in the June 18 blaze at Sofa Super Store in West Ashley.

The plaque, 37 inches by 24 inches, features portraits of the fallen and a montage of images,The plaque is expected to be displayed at a future memorial site for the firefighters.

Jermaine Husser, president of the Rotary Club of Charleston, presented the plaque to Mayor Joe Riley and Fire Chief Rusty Thomas at a luncheon at The Citadel. The East Cooper Breakfast Rotary Club joined the Charleston club to host the event. The Fire Department's honor guard also attended.

Family members of the nine fallen firefighters were presented with bronze plaques featuring portrait images of their loved ones. Identical plaques went to fire stations where the men served.

Chaplain Rob Dewey, a Rotary member and senior chaplain with the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy, presided over the ceremony. Dewey was at the June 18 fire and provided comfort to families and firefighters.

Jeff Pulley from the East Cooper club organized the project after attending the June memorial service for the fallen at the North Charleston Coliseum. He contacted Trigard Bronze, which sponsored the 19 memorial plaques that were created.

Mark Ruppel, public information officer for the Charleston Fire Department, said the department was grateful for the tribute. "We thought it was a great event," he said. "On behalf of the entire department and families: Thank you."