by Sandra Blanchard, Hannibal
I have lived in Hannibal all my life and proud of it. We have a great fire department with some great equipment that the men have secured through grants and fund-raisers.
I, for one, thank them for what they have done for the town. For those reasons, I was surprised, along with my mother Dorothy Pratt, to have gone to the Fairdale cemetery to place flowers on the graves of my father and younger brother and found that there were no Hannibal Fire Department flags of honor placed on the graves in the Fairdale cemetery.
My father was a member of the Hannibal Fire Department for 56 years. He worked on the design and construction of the fire station that still stands today.
He worked to bring the ambulance service to Hannibal. My father, Ted Pratt, and his wife, Dorothy Pratt, went and picked up the first ambulance that Hannibal ever had.
I will tell you this for anyone who cares. No matter what the time or type of call received, my dad was up and gone before you could take a breath. He never missed a call. I cannot tell you how proud of him we were.
He saved many lives in those years and I cannot believe that the Hannibal Fire Department left those great service men out of the recognition that they deserved.
To be fair to all of the firemen, I expect that one man was put in charge of this duty and did not do it. We not only pay a fire tax but we also pay all the firemen retirement — something that many of the firemen did not receive in the past.
They did it because they cared; they wanted nothing in return. It brought tears to my eyes as my dad deserved better from his service and friends.