Community mourns fallen firefighter
WYE MILLS — Departments across the region joined together in solidarity as family, friends and colleagues gathered Saturday, Sept. 8, to grieve the passing of Daniel Lister, assistant chief of Queen Anne–Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Company.
Lister responded to his last call as he had countless others before. He came to the aid of travelers involved in a motor vehicle accident, and during the rescue, he experienced a medical emergency himself.
His life and service pay tribute to the many men and women who put their lives on the line to aid others, said Gov. Larry Hogan at the service held for Lister at Chesapeake College.
In the auditorium, a somber sea of blue and black — men and women in uniform — viewed the casket upon which Lister’s turnout gear rested.
Daniel “Danny” Lee Lister, 34, died in the line of duty on Saturday, Sept. 1.
Born in Easton, he was the son of Donna Jo Lister of Cordova and the late Thomas Michael Lister. A graduate from Easton High School, class of 2003, and Maryland Fire Rescue Institute, Lister had received various fire and EMS certifications.
Lister held the position of risk manager for Queen Anne’s County Department of Human Resources and assistant chief for Queen Anne–Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Company, where had been a member for 15 years, holding every position within the company except president.
“There are no words I can give you to take away the hurt or ease the pain,” Hogan said to Lister’s family and fellow firefighters, “What I can tell you is you have the assurance of an eternally grateful state. He lived and died a hero.”
Many Marylanders are just learning of the incredible mark Lister left, the governor said, but his family already knows what a hero he was.
First responders are at their best when others are most in need, Hogan said, exercising kindness and compassion every day. Lister exemplified those traits with an easy smile and a great sense of humor, Hogan said.
When others run away from fire and danger, first responders run toward it — and that’s why they are called heroes, Hogan said.
“His memory will live on through the lives he touched and his legacy through other first responders who continue to serve,” Hogan said. “Let your lives and your actions carry on the service that marked Danny Lister’s life, and God bless all the men and women he bravely served beside in the fire service.”
Lister’s fiancee, Lauren Baker, and the mother of his son, Laura Fox, each spoke of his ability to make others laugh and offer solutions to problems. A master of many talents, some humorous and mischievous, he taught his son compassion and how important it is to help others, they said.
“I am grateful that our little boy will always have a home within our fire department,” Fox said, “grateful to you all, for your support.”
Connecting others, loving life and people, was Lister’s way, said the Rev. Paul Merritt Sr., pastor of the Denton Church of the Nazarene. A last call on earth doesn’t mean it’s the end, he said, it is a first call in heaven — the most important of all.
When those tones dropped on Sept. 1, Danny Lister once again gave what he could not keep, to gain what he could not lose, Merritt said.
“You are a family,” Merritt said the to fire service members gathered, “but who rescues you when your energy is spent? When your arms are spent and eyes reddened with soot? When despite your best efforts, someone’s home is a total loss?”
He reminded them of scripture from the book of Joshua: “I will not fail you or forsake you be strong and courageous. Do not turn to the right or left so you shall have success wherever you go; For the lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
“Yes, more homes will be lost,” Merritt said. “There will be more services like this, but you will go and continue to answer the call because you have already given that which you cannot keep. Courage isn’t having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”
During the honor ceremony, “Massed Pipes & Drums” played as a flag was presented to Lister’s family, along with his helmet and shield. A tradition for first responders, there was silence as the tones alerted and over the radio came the last call for Lister.
Assisted one last time by his fellow firefighters, Lister’s casket was carried by Rescue 84 for a private burial. The service was attended by many representatives of area fire departments, both local and from Anne Arundel County. Members of the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners and congressional Districts 36 and 37 also attended.
Memorial contributions may be made in Lister’s honor to Queen Anne–Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Company, 13512 1st St., Queen Anne, MD 21657.
In keeping with tradition, the bell or alarm, is sounded one last time for a fireman’s final call Saturday, Sept. 8, during the memorial service for firefighter Daniel Lister.
The honor guard carries the flags Saturday, Sept. 8, at a memorial service for firefighter Daniel Lister.
Queen Anne-Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Company’s Rescue 84 bears the casket of Daniel Lister on Saturday, Sept. 8.