Monday, September 11, 2006


Julie Anderson, Buzz's wife, was first contacted by Steve hall about the benefit states that she was grateful and amazed. Anderson said as time went on and the event started to grow bigger she was even more amazed by the support and offerings from the people around the community.

TMC: Was there any hesitation in the beginning?
Julie: No. No. A little nervous the closer it got, but no hesitation. I just didn’t know how I would handle it all because it is a celebration, but never any hesitation.
TMC: Is there anything that you want to say to all of the people who have come together to put on this event?
Julie: Yes, I have thought about this and thought about this and just saying thank you doesn’t seem like enough. But you just can’t find the words that you want to express how grateful you are.
TMC: Tell us a little about your husband’s character that was able to spark all this.
Julie: He was very outgoing, like gatherings, loved car shows, he would have loved this. That was probably one of the reasons I didn’t have any hesitations, because this is a party he would have gone to.
TMC: Probably a type that he would help coordinate.
Julie: Yes, absolutely. He was such a caring man.
TMC: You seem to have a large family, how much support have they been through all of this?
Julie: I wouldn’t be standing here without all of them. Some days you lean harder then others. They have all been such a big help.
TMC: And the Wellington Fire family?
Julie: Yes, they have been absolutely wonderful. They have supported us unbelievably and we support them also whole heartedly. The have also suffered a great loss like we did. I would also like to say that with tomorrow being September 11th, there are a lot pf people to be remembered today.


Josh Riggs, Buzz Andersons Nephew
Josh Riggs is the 22 year old nephew of Allan “Buzz” Anderson. Josh lives in Columbus and has completed his fire science degree and has one year left in paramedic school.

TMC: How long have you wanted to be a firefighter?
Josh: I have been thinking about it ever since Allan Anderson Sr. was a volunteer up here in Wellington, so quite a while.
TMC: Has the incident with your uncle given you any pause…
Josh: (Answering quickly) None whatsoever. If anything it has given me more motivation seeing how much the fire department has come together as a family. It’s brought the entire town together and has made us much closer. It’s been an experience that, with under these circumstances, you couldn’t ask for anything more.
TMC: During the opening ceremony your family was all wearing the black t-shirts standing on the stage, then off to the sides of the stage we saw the Wellington firefighters wearing the gray shirts, it looked like almost an extension of your family.
Josh: Definitely an extension of the family, it’s just an absolutely a huge brotherhood. The Wellington Fire District has been amazing to our family, they’re hurting just about as bad as we are but we are all pulling through together.
TMC: What has this event done for you and your family?
JOSH: It shows how much people care, how the town cares and it’s wonderful to see all these people turn out. I was overwhelmed by everything that was put on today as I was overwhelmed by the funeral service.
TMC: Is there anyone that you wanted to thank in closing?
Josh: For me personally, my family. We have all been picking each other up and doing the best we can. Next would be the fire department. They have been catching us every time we start to fall down. They just show us so much love and sympathy; they have just done so much for the family. Steve Hall, the gentlemen who put on this benefit. He has done such a great job. There have also been a ton of people who will just express their condolences; simple things like that really lift us up.

I know my uncle was a great man. He died doing what he loved to do and these people, by continuing to lift us up shows us that. They really do.


To see all photos from this event: CLICK HERE
Chief Bob Walker invited Al & Cathy Anderson to join him at the microphone to present them with a very special plaque.

”The Fire Expo / Firehouse World and Firehouse in Las Vegas is honoring Al as a firefighter rescue diver for the Wellington Fire District who gave up his life in the line of duty on June 22nd, 2006. We are extremely proud to have Al and Cathy here with us and troy Pitts has one more trophy that we would like to present to them.”

Presentation of Medallion by Wellington Firefighter Troy Pitts

“You don’t know how much it means to us to have our brotherhood here and on the day of the funeral to have all of the different fire departments that showed up from all over Ohio and other states, it made a big difference for us and for that Thank You. We received a phone call from an organization in Knoxville Tennessee called Fallen Friend; this is an organization that gives medallions for someone that dies in the line of duty while trying to save another life. We’d like to present this to you on their behalf and thank you and again express our sympathies for Alan as well.”


Wellington Fire Chief Bob Walker
I think what an event like this does is honors Al for his extreme dedication to want to help the community, to help the Wellington Fire District and to get his family here to participate in the event.
I think this event is helping the firefighters and their families feel a little better now, the Wellington community turning out in such strong numbers showing their support. There’s a long way to go for us to all get through this, it’s going to take some time for healing.

Steve Hall, Event Organizer
This all started because I happened to be on the road that day when Buzz lost his life. The only thing I can tell you is that I was sitting in my living room with my dad and I said, I should really try and do something for this family. It has been an honor to be a part of this and to work with the Anderson family and the Wellington Fire District. I would like to thank everyone who has helped put on today’s event, but there are just way too many people to thanks individually, but you know who you are, God Bless You.

Let’s make today a day to celebrate Buzz’s life, there has been a lot of mourning but maybe for a few minutes today we can turn this into Buzz’s party.

Rodney Harrison, Owner of Harrison Ford & main event sponsor
It was important for the dealership to support one of its own locally, who gave his life to save another so we thought it was only right to assist as well to support his family. We are happy to see such a turn out of people and the amount of cars in the car show, just a great event.

Tim “Big Dog” Graham
I personally knew Buzz Anderson and his family. They are a good group of people, very nice family. I catered the reception after his funeral and donated to a golf outing as well. I’m glad to be a part of this. When I was first contacted I didn’t hesitate, I knew I wanted to be a part of this. The biggest part of this is to pay tribute to Buzz and to honor his service.
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