Slain fireman receives honor

Engine No. 9 dedicated to Louis Moreland, 39

May 30, 2002|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Louis Moreland loved Engine No. 9 at the Harwood-Lothian fire station. His research helped guide Anne Arundel County officials when they bought it a couple of years ago. He drove it to fires. He washed it at night, lifted his two daughters to see inside.

Yesterday, the girls unveiled the plaque on the side of the truck dedicating the fire engine to Moreland's memory.

Moreland and his brother were fatally shot last year at a St. Mary's County construction site during a domestic dispute in which they had no involvement. The gunman was sentenced this year to life in prison with no chance for parole.

But there was no talk at the station yesterday about Moreland's untimely death at age 39, no tears from his daughters, Brooke, 5, and Leighanne, 15. Not even any unkind words from Moreland's widow about the man who killed her husband of 18 years and his brother, Edward.

"I'm very happy today," said Shelley Moreland, who married Louis when she was 18, after the high-school sweethearts had dated nearly five years. "He loved this engine. He loved this job. He loved these people. These are good memories. It brings a smile every time I see this truck."

When firefighters pass her house in Edgewater, they often honk the horn, she said. Brooke rushes to the window to see whether it's No. 9, she said.

Leighanne said she remembers that her father used to call the engine his "baby" and that he kept a little Elmo statue inside the truck.

Moreland spent more than 20 years as a firefighter in the county - 18 of them as paid pump operator and driver and several as a volunteer.

Those who had worked with Moreland crowded into the station for yesterday's ceremony, which was attended by County Executive Janet S. Owens and Fire Chief Roger C. Simonds Sr.

"It means a lot that they did this," Leighanne said. "I've grown up around these people. They're like family."

Moreland's stepfather, Curtis Dye, who has volunteered more than 50 years at the Edgewater fire station and serves as a chaplain, said he was pleased to see so many firefighters at the ceremony yesterday.

"Louie would have loved this," Dye said. "And so would have his brother."

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