CLEVELAND (WJW) — A crowd of loved ones gathered for a memorial service Friday morning to honor fallen fire fighters.

Cleveland fire fighter Lt. Richard Petras died August 15, 2020 from COVID-19 complications.

Lt. Petras is the recipient of City of Cleveland Life Saver Awards, Commendations, and the Division of Fire’s Florian Cross, which is awarded to members who have distinguished themselves by performing an act of exceptional bravery while facing great danger in the course of protecting human life.

Union President Francis Lally in 2020 said Petras passed away after 26 years of dedicated service.

“In the face of this pandemic, Rich never neglected his duty and never backed down,” he said. “He knew the risks, and he continued to serve – a true hero.”

Petras and his wife Jill were married for 27 years. They had twin daughters, Ashley and Amber.

Lieutenant Richard A. Petras is the seventy-ninth Cleveland Firefighter to die in the line of duty.

The annual memorial starting at 11:25 a.m. before the St. Patrick’s Day parade, is hosted by the Cleveland Firefighters Shamrock Club along with the Association of Cleveland Firefighters IAFF Local 93.

It’s located at the corner of Erieside Avenue and Lerner Way.

Also being honored, Cleveland Firefighters who have died in the line of duty since 1863 with the first being Paul N. Aukens on February 25, 1869 and the last, Firefighter Johnny Tetrick who passed away November 19, 2022.

The presentation of the wreath this year will be made by the family of Lieutenant Richard A. Petras.

The Cleveland Firefighters Shamrock Club is a Society of Irish Firefighters, officially established in 1980, is made up of City of Cleveland Firefighters and Cleveland Airport Firefighters. The Memorial to Fallen Firefighters began in 1982 and was the creation of the late Shamrock Club member Battalion Chief George O’Neil.