COLLINS - Just one ceremonial piece was missing when the Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society conducted its fire service rite in May 2006, at the funeral of Jim Tucker, a 15-year member of the Townsend Township Volunteer Fire Department.
It was the bell the last-call bell that is tolled at firefighters' funerals.
The local chapter, a group of 23 fire service members from departments both inside and outside the county, needed a bell and set out to get one.
It didn't take long.
Norwalk businessman Jim Ewell, a close friend of the Tucker family, spearheaded an immediate fund drive. What seemed like overnight, the $1,600 bell became a reality.
It was cast in Sweden and weighs 40 pounds.
The bell has the name "In Memory of Jim Tucker" in raised lettering on one side and the inscription "Honor Our Fallen" on the other. On the placard at the base are all the names of firefighters who have passed away since the chapter was formed.
"I feel honored that the bell carries the inscription of my husband," Celeste Tucker said. "Like all volunteer firefighters, Jim just wanted to be known as one of those who served."
Tucker died May 30, 2006. He was 58.
The bell was used the first time in Norwalk at the February funeral of former Norwalk resident Jeff Murray, a Sharon Township firefighter who died in the line of duty. The bell tolled three sets of five for Murray because of his line-of-duty-death.