Barriere’s new fire engine has two special decals on the body that bring a tear to anyone who can relate and/or remember those who are recognized in such a poignant manner.
On the rear of the Fire Engine the number ‘343’ is posted in large reflective letters.
“To remember the 343 firefighters that lost their life in 911,” says Barriere Fire Chief Ashley Wolgemuth, “We think it is important that none of them are forgotten for the sacrifice they made that day.”
Another memorial decal is mounted on the passenger side door, a black ribbon with the name ‘Jerry” written over – an amazing way to remember one of Barriere’s past firefighters.
Some may remember Jerry as “the famous” Barriere Jerr, a frequent contributor to the Leo Baggio show on 98.3 CIFM in the late 1990’s and beyond. He would call Leo up and then they would talk about music, or whatever Jerry had on his mind, or Leo wanted to discuss. Jerry’s calls were always full of life, enthusiasm and laughter, and many waited daily for that call to come over their radio. He was well known for his Barriere Jerr radio sign off, “Rock On!”
Jerry was a dedicated volunteer fireman. Whether it was fighting fires, helping out at the firehouse, or jumping into the mascot costume for parade days, Jerry’s passion was in working with the fire department. Many Fall Fair parade watchers can remember Jerry’s happy grin as he waved from a fire truck in the annual Fall Fair parade, or when we attended the annual Open House at the Fire Hall, Jerry would always be there to show folks around.
When the McLure Wildfire hit the area in 2003 our fire departments were tasked with impossible hours to fight the flames and keep them away from the community. There were nowhere near enough firefighters, even when other fire departments rallied and sent fire trucks and firefighters to help.
During this time Jerry stepped up and kept the Barriere firehall running while the fire-fighters were out dousing the flames. He took on the job of cleaning the hall, keeping the showers ready to go, having food and water accessible at any time no matter when the crews came in, and most importantly he did it all with a smile to help his fellow firefighters and his community. Jerry made life bearable for all the firefighters staying at the hall during that time.
Over the years the received a number of appreciation awards for his work at the fire departments, and in 2014 Jerry was nominated for the Citizen of the Year award in Barriere.
“He was a vital member of our department,” said Chief Wohlgemuth, “One time he and another firefighter fought a house fire on their own. That’s who Jerry was – a firefighter. It makes me emotional to see his name on the truck, The fire department was a big, big, part of his life. ”
Jerome ‘Barriere Jerr’ Edwin Wenlock passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 14, 2019.
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