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Fire Department hosts honor guard exercises

First responders honor real fallen firefighter during week-long program
By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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Timing, marching, synchronization, discipline and honor are a few of the traits needed to be a successful honor guard. More than 40 law enforcement and firefighters attended Honor Guard Training Camp at the El Dorado Hills Fire Station No. 85 last week. “Fire departments and law enforcement (individuals) from all over the state are here for the week-long training,” said El Dorado Hills Fire Department deputy Chief Jim O’Camb. The training included practicing marching with axe poles and law enforcement marched with parade guns. O’Camb said Honor Guards from fire and law enforcement are representatives of their departments and serve at formal occasions at local and national events. They are dedicated to honoring fallen comrades, their families, and department members past and present. ”Doing all this in unison is pretty impressive,” he said. Matt Beckett, of the El Dorado Hills Fire Department and honor guard commander, said 41 students took part in the second camp hosted at the station. Beckett is an instructor for DFL (Damn Few Left) Honor Guard Training. “This is all voluntary,” he said. “There are few left who want to do this knowing they rarely get paid and there is no overtime. The mission is to take care of the fallen and provide color guard duties for other events. They do it for the honor.” Training concluded Friday with and exam and simulated funeral procession. Capt. James “Peet” Peterson of the Sac Metro Fire District died in 2008 at the age of 46. His widow Capt. Tracy Valentine, also of Sac Metro Fire, agreed to be part of the mock-training funeral, Beckett said. “She will be here today,” he said of the Friday training. “This adds the realism these students need to get the feel and to get as close to the event as possible. … We are honoring (Peterson).”