Auburn Hosts Firefighter's Memorial Service

Fire trucks and aid units lined up bumper-to-bumper, two abreast behind Rainier Auditorium at Auburn Adventist Academy on Sabbath, June 12, to honor Jon Cahill, a fire captain who died June 3 in a tragic climbing accident on Mt. Rainier.

When Auburn pastor Jay Coon, who is also the fire department chaplain, heard of Cahill's death, he and Keith Hallum, Auburn principal, offered the use of academy and church facilities for the memorial service.

Cahill’s pastor from the nearby Grace Community Church began the service. Auburn's mayor, Cahill's fire chief and a representative from the Washington governor's office addressed the crowd, many of whom were fellow firefighters in dress uniforms. Eulogies delivered by friends, colleagues and relatives spoke of Cahill’s strong faith in Jesus, his love for his family and his encouraging their growth in Christ.

They also spoke of his love of training firefighters and how seriously he took his job. He would say, “Train like you fight, and fight like you train.” High on his list of priorities was scheduling activities with his family, followed by climbing and other outdoor pursuits. An experienced mountain climber, Cahill had climbed Mt. Rainier 25 times.

The service was covered by four local television stations and several newspapers. One photographer was wiping his eyes during the eulogies.

Cahill held a special place in the hearts of the Auburn Academy family after he led the fighting of the girls’ dormitory fire last fall.

August 01, 2004 / Washington Conference