Isaac Sarris, a Hamilton firefighter and liaison for the Wolterman family, said Thursday was a good time to “celebrate” Wolterman.
“This is one of many days to remember Patrick and what he stood for, not only as a firefighter but as a family member,” he said. “Above everything else, he was a husband, a son, a brother, an uncle and a great man all around.”
Retherford introduced a bill earlier this year to rename a portion of Ohio 4 for the Hamilton firefighter who died in the line of duty on Dec. 28, 2015.
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“Patrick paid the ultimate sacrifice, he showed the ultimate love for his community, and I was just honored to be part of making sure he’s permanently memorialized in this community through a sign dedication,” Retherford said.
The new “Firefighter and Paramedic Patrick Wolterman Memorial Highway” sign at the stretch of road from North Fair Avenue to High Street in Hamilton.
Hamilton Fire Department Chief Mark Mercer said Thursday’s sign dedication “means different things to different people.”
“For some, the words that Mr. Retherford used — duty, sacrifice and community — all of those things are important,” he said. “For other people, a different relationship: family, brotherhood and love. As we see this sign, we’ll remember that and the loss that comes with Patrick’s sacrifice.”
The 28-year-old Wolterman died on Dec. 28, 2015, battling a blaze at a Hamilton home. That fire was determined to be intentionally set. Lester Parker and William Tucker were found guilty in November 2017 of murder and arson. Both were sentenced to life in prison.
Following the trial, Retherford reached out to Hamilton firefighters union, I.A.F.F Local 20, to see if the family and department would want him to pursue re-naming part of Ohio 4 in Wolterman’s honor. They did.
“For me this is a nice part of our future, for Patrick’s future story, for people who are coming down years down the line to see this sign and to remember him once again and to talk about him, and for future generations to ask, ‘Who is Patrick Wolterman and what he stood for?’ and this will be the prompt for that event,” Sarris said.
The family of fallen Hamilton firefighter/paramedic Patrick Wolterman stands in front of the sign that makes a stretch of Ohio 4 from North Fair Avenue to High Street in his honor.