On Friday, July 20th, 2012 the viewing for our fallen brother Jimmy Graham was held at the DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith, and Boyd Funeral Home. The viewing was attended by over 50 current and past members of the Good Will Fire Company No.2, over 50 current and past members of the West Chester Fire Department, and by members of the Goshen Fire Company and the Downingtown Fire Department. The viewing was held from 4pm to 8pm and was well attended by Jimmy's friends and family, which is a true testament to the type of man Jimmy was and what he stood for. Current and former members of the Good Will Fire Company No.2 served as the honor guard during the honor guard during the viewing, so that our brother would never be alone. After the viewing family members, friends, and members of the company gathered at the firehouse for food and fellowship.
On Saturday, July 21st, 2012 a memorial service was held, from 11:30 to 12:30, at the DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith, and Boyd Funeral Home. The service was again well attended by over 50 members of the Good Will Fire Company No.2, over 50 members of the West Chester Fire Department, Goshen Fire Company, Minquas Fire Company of Downingtown, the Middletown Fire Company, the Sadsburyville Fire Company, the Five Points Fire Company of New Castle County, and the Good Fellowship Ambulance Club. The funeral procession began at 12:30 and traveled to the Good Will Fire Company No.2 where a public memorial service was held to honor the life of Jimmy Graham. During the procession Engine 52 – 2 carried Jimmy's ashes and was staffed with his oldest and closest friends from the company and department.
West Chester Fire Department Chaplin Jerry Schwartz officiated the memorial service and spoke about the life of Jimmy; Chaplin Schwartz also called several members to the podium to speak about their memories of Jimmy. Good Will Fire Company No.2 President, and long time friend, Ted Hartz spoke about his earliest memories of Jimmy and the time they spent together including the time they spent together in their early childhood and together at the Good Will Fire Company No 2. Long time friend Pete Guinta spoke about the type of person Jimmy was, often giving to others before worrying about himself and spending countless hours serving the community and friends or strangers in need. Past Firefighter, current Henrico County Virginia Firefighter, Bruce Ivey spoke about the lifelong friendship he held with Jimmy. Bruce spoke with passion about the experiences he shared with Jimmy, in and out of the firehouse, and also conveyed numerous experiences where Jimmy gave to others before himself. Past Fire Chief and current member Mike Cotter spoke about the life of Jimmy and cited an instance where, after a house fire, Jimmy and Pete Guinta went back to the house to work on the heater to ensure that the occupant had warmth immediately after the fire, it is important to note that Jimmy and Pete did this for a complete stranger! Captain Chris Good spoke about the personality traits Jimmy encompassed, mainly his ability to make people laugh! Those that knew Jimmy often remember his infectious laugh that usually could be heard before you ever saw him, his unique one liners, and the Accu – Graham forecasting skills where he would take every computer model of an impending snow storm, add the totals together, and then make the Accu – Graham prediction.
After the speeches were complete a balloon release was held outside the firehouse, each person in attendance was given a balloon with a note card attached so that everyone could write a personal message to Jimmy. Jimmy's youngest daughter Haleigh lead the balloon release with over 100 balloons being released simultainiously; after the balloon release was completed the crowd was invited to join in a fellowship luncheon in the firehouse.
The officers of the Good Will Fire Company No.2 would like to thank the members of the Good Will Fire Company No.2 on their outstanding performance throughout the time Jimmy was sick and his passing. Your dedication to each other and Jimmy's family speaks volumes about the type of people you are, emulates was Jimmy stood for, and leaves a legacy for future members of the company to follow. You should all be proud of the work you did in cleaning the firehouse, ensuring every last detail was completed, and for constantly checking on each other and the family. You are all proof that the brotherhood of the Fire Department in alive and well in West Chester!
The officers and members would like to acknowledge the support received from the 1st West Chester Fire Company and Fame Fire Company, who both gave up valuable time to ensure that anything we needed was taken care of, no matter what the task was these members stepped up to the plate and assisted where needed. Without your valuable assistance this memorial service would have been much harder to complete.
The officers and members would like to thank the Goshen Fire Company, namely Assistant Chief Rich Constantine for constantly checking in with us and offering any assistance they could, for providing their Tower for the Ladder Arch in front of the firehouse and sending numerous members to the viewing and memorial service.
The officers and members would like to thank the crew of Rescue 25, Tower 47, Engine 6 – 2, and Delaware County Engine 69 for covering the WCFD during the memorial service and offering their help to set up and prepare for the service at the firehouse. Your assistance is appreciated and we hope to be able to return the favor in the future!
Lastly, the officers and members would like to thank to community for their support and the numerous businesses of the West Chester community for their donations for the memorial service. Without your continued help and support much of what we do would be much harder to complete.