Chairman Bulova Delivers Remarks at Service for Fallen Firefighter
October 27, 2011 – Chairman Sharon Bulova delivered the following remarks at the memorial service for fallen Fairfax County Firefighter Horace C. "Teddy" Pendergrass. The funeral was held at Greater Little Zion Baptist Church and he was laid to rest at Quantico National Cemetery.
It is an honor to have been asked to be here this morning to share a few words about Firefighter “Teddy” Pendergrass. Firefighter Pendergrass was “Teddy” to his Fire & Rescue family and “Chris” to his immediate family.
Our entire Fairfax family – and we are a family - mourns alongside Teddy’s immediate family and his extended Fire & Rescue Department family. Just by looking at Teddy’s portrait you can tell that he was special person - his smile, the gleam in his eyes. Teddy led his life in a way that demonstrated caring and compassion.
I understand from his colleagues that Teddy was known as the “gentle giant” for his quiet, positive, behind-the-scenes actions with his co-workers. As a firefighter, he helped people in their time of greatest need. Teddy was a gifted athlete, playing professional football, and holding records in track and field. You may not know that Firefighter Pendergrass was inducted into the Elizabeth City State University Hall of Fame in 2009. He was also a world-ranked discus thrower in the Master’s Division.
As an Army veteran, he served his country, and he continued to serve at the local and community level as a firefighter/EMT. I cannot think of a higher calling than either one of those professions.
Teddy’s involvement in the Fairfax community is well-known; he was always at the backpack drives, and Toys for Tots programs—some of the same events I attended with him. His community service extended both on and off duty. The consummate professional; he was looked up to by younger firefighters in the firehouse—an informal and natural leader who had everyone’s best interest in mind - and at heart.
Fairfax County has lost a wonderful man, and an inspirational firefighter – someone who kept us safe. We will miss Teddy and everything about him. But we sure won’t forget him.
It is my hope and belief that the warm bonds of support among our Fire and Rescue personnel, and our larger Fairfax County family, will provide comfort during this difficult time. Let us be sure to celebrate what Teddy meant to us and contributed to what is surely the best Fire and Rescue organization on the planet.