Cherry tree to honor fallen NH firefighter

Kyle Jameson, 34, died after a battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in May 2016

By Max Sullivan
Portsmouth Herald

HAMPTON, N.H. — A weeping cherry tree will be planted this year in front of the Hampton Fire Department headquarters honoring the late firefighter Kyle Jameson.

Selectmen unanimously approved the removal of some swamp maple trees in the front of the fire station on Winnacunnet Road Monday night to make room for the tree at the request of Hampton fire union president Jed Carpentier. Jameson, 34, died after a battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in May 2016, and Carpentier said the tree would serve as a place for his loved ones to remember him. Carpentier said he promised Jameson's mother, Sheila, that the tree would be planted to honor her son.

"It's important to me, especially... to provide a place for both Kyle's family, that being his personal family and his firefighter family, to go and respect and remember him," said Carpentier.

Jameson's fire brothers supported him in his fight with cancer as soon as he was diagnosed in April 2015. At the time, Jameson and his wife Christine were expecting their first child, Liam. Jameson had worked at the Derry and Seabrook fire departments before coming to Hampton, as well as interned at North Hampton fire. Firefighters from those departments and others fought to raise money for his out of pocket costs and provide emotional support while he was fighting his cancer.

The new tree will be one of several ways Hampton fire has continued to remember Jameson. Last month, Jameson was honored as a fallen firefighter by the National Fallen Firefighter's Foundation for his part in a video where he described how he believed his cancer was caused by his exposure to chemicals at fire scenes. His family received a $2,500 donation from the NFFF.

The tree will be planted on the left side of the front of the station, according to Carpentier. He said planting the tree will also be a good opportunity to clean up the shrubbery there, which has become overgrown.

Selectman Rusty Bridle, a former Hampton firefighter, said the location was a good choice since it is close to an existing memorial and the station's flag pole.

"I think it's a really good thing that you're doing it," said Bridle.

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