Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Heartland Fire Fighters Celebrate the Life of Mike Stovall

San Elijo State Beach-

Mike Stovall often found solace in the waves of the Pacific Ocean. Drawn to the beach since childhood Mike would often come to the beach to decompress from the stress that slowly accumulates after years in the fire service. Mike, and wife Patsy, would often come to the San Elijo State Beach to enjoy the tranquility of the cliff side camping. Over time Mike had established that there was a single space in the campground that was his favorite. Every year they returned to the same location, thus it was appropriate that fire fighters from all over Heartland returned to give Mike his final send off from a spot that he loved so much.

Fire fighters move from the ceremony site to the beach.
As with the tradition of the fire service the day began with everyone telling stories about the career of Mike Stovall. More times than not these stories are often about humorous episodes that he would have prefer were forgotten with time. But true to the spirit within the fire service family these stories are often recalled in perfect accuracy.

The "Ocean Honor Guard" before taking to the water. These are firefighters from Heartland.
On January 7th fire fighters from agencies throughout Heartland showed up to see that Brother Mike was sent off with nothing but the love for a fallen friend. Many of the fire fighters that participated have long since retired from the service, but these were the crews that served at Mike's side. See Mike was lucky enough to have served during a time when fire fighters in Heartland were a close knit family. Sure we had different shoulder patches and badges, but peal that away we were Heartland.

We fought each others fires, we collectively reached out when a brother or sister had fallen, we knew each others families, and celebrated additions to the family. When one was fighting for their life we all shaved our heads and quietly prayed for our family member. This was the Heartland Mike knew .

We love ya Mike
Mike would have reveled to see all his family gather to take him home. He would have been the center of attention with his huge personality, but most of all he would loved that this group carried his memory out to sea.

Submitted By: Mark Grow, Social Media Contributor


  1. Well done Mark, It was great to see everyone there to say goodbye to Mike and to let Patsy know she is still part of our family.