JMU partners with local fire department to honor fallen firefighters

by Mary-Hope Vass



James Madison University will partner with the Harrisonburg Fire Department and join other iconic landmarks next week in a tribute to honor fallen firefighters called, “Light the Night.”   

For the first time, JMU’s Wilson Hall will be lit each evening with a red light from Sept. 29 through Oct. 4. 

“As part of this great community, it is important for JMU to acknowledge the courageous work of our neighbors and the enormous risks associated with their service," explained JMU President Jonathan R. Alger. 

“JMU students, faculty and staff rely on members of our local fire departments within the city and county on a daily basis and we want to remember and honor their sacrifices with utmost respect and gratitude.” 

The lights on Wilson Hall this year will honor in a special way Captain Anthony Whetzel, of the Rockingham County Department of Fire and Rescue. 

“Everyone at the Harrisonburg Fire Department is humbled by this thoughtful act from the JMU community," HFD Chief Ian Bennett said. “It means so much to us to live and work in a community like ours which does so much to support us every day. We are proud to be part of Light the Night with everyone at JMU.” 

For a complete list of fallen firefighters and “Light the Night” tributes, visit

Media contact: Mary-Hope Vass,, 540-568-7487 or Chief Ian Bennett, or 540-432-7703.

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Published: Friday, September 27, 2019

Last Updated: Friday, September 27, 2019

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