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Fallen Firefighter Hennessey Saluted Along Freeway Ride

Learn details of fireman Greg Hennessey's funeral memorial here.

This photo shows the procession along with the bridge tribute to firefighter Greg Hennessey. Credit Joe Greeninger
This photo shows the procession along with the bridge tribute to firefighter Greg Hennessey. Credit Joe Greeninger

When the body of fireman Greg Hennessey, 49, was transported Wednesday morning north on the 5 freeway, fellow firefighters took the chance to salute him from overpasses along the drive.

Hennessey's body was being driven from the mortuary to the coroner's office for an autopsy and back, Orange County Fire Authority Division Chief Kris Concepcion said.

Hennessey died Monday of a heart attack inside Fire Station 45 at 30131 Aventura in Rancho Santa Margarita despite a quick effort to revive him, according to an OCFA statement.

Patch readers first spotted the procession along the Mission Viejo overpasses at Alicia and Los Alisos. Reader Kristen Pearson described four SUVs and a blue and white van, followed by a large fire engine with hazard lights on.

The procession continued north into Irvine, with firefighters saluting the procession on two out of every three bridges, she said.

"It was very touching," she said.

A public memorial for Hennessey is scheduled for Tuesday, March 4 at 10 a.m. inside Saddleback Church in Lake Forest. The memorial was scheduled to give Hennessey's out-of-state family time to make travel accommodations, Concepcion said.

Hennessey, who lived in Trabuco Canyon, is survived by his mother Virginia, wife Deanna and two sons, Ryan, 22, and Brandon, 19.

Mike January 22, 2014 at 08:11 PM
Firefighters are great, but did they have to do this during morning rush hour. Besides the 3 fender benders, thousands of people where late due to this untimely event. Many professions are honorable, and it is unfortunate when a husband, and father dies, but to disrupt the economic engine of orange county, and the damage to the 6 vehicles due to this honoring of their brother, is unfortunate as well. I hate to sound callous, but lets use some common sense. This could have waited until the family was present during the funeral procession, or at a traffic friendly time. I wont even mention the cost to the taxpayer.
Pete January 23, 2014 at 10:18 AM
Wow, Mike. You don't sound callous, you ARE callous. Let everyone know your personal schedule so if something happens like this happens again, they can make sure it doesn't interrupt your precious schedule. I'm sure the fallen firefighter and his family and his co-workers would have preferred to be doing something else at the time under different circumstances. Think about your insensitive comments the next time you need a paramedic or fire truck at your house so you can apologize to all of us for holding up traffic. What a jerk.
Eileen January 23, 2014 at 12:44 PM
I had to re-read the comments made by Mike. You Mile disgust me with your callous statement. It takes a very ugly person to take a story that was moving and emotional to the readers, and turn it into a negative one. I am a friend of the fallen firefighter and take offense to your comment. Please patch I would appreciate it if you would delete his comment.
Pete January 23, 2014 at 12:48 PM
Actually Eileen, I think this comment should stay so more people can comment on what a horse's rear end he is.
Eileen January 23, 2014 at 01:24 PM
🐴
Eileen January 23, 2014 at 01:24 PM
🐴
Kuntheary Tiep January 23, 2014 at 05:08 PM
Dear Mike, I was one of those commuters you speak of on the 5 yesterday morning. I commute from LB to MV everyday, a hour or so drive each way. I want to let you and everyone here on Patch know that I was deeply moved by the brotherhood of our firefighter's and it brought me to tears while I drove to work. We are so lucky to live in America, and so many of us unfortunately don't realize that. Coming from a country where citizens had no rights, I felt so proud and honored to be in the presence of such love, compassion and honor to our fallen brothers. Rest in Peace Mr. Hennessey
Mike January 23, 2014 at 05:27 PM
I think my overall point was missed. Eileen my condolences, it was not a personal comment on your friend and in retrospect most likely the wrong forum to discuss this. I was a commenting on the procedure, its timing, and potential consequences to society in general. Its sad when someone so young dies of natural causes, and even more tragic when they die in the line of duty. I regret that my comments may have been viewed as a personal attack on Greg Hennessey or firefighters. It is obvious that he was a good guy and loved by so many. However i do not consider my comments shallow, or self centered. I will not expand or defend my comments further here than to say they were valid had merit and deserved to be considered.
Richard January 23, 2014 at 06:27 PM
Wow Mike you don't sound callous, you actually sound sane and reasonable. While I was not on the road during that time you make a valid point indeed. And as a tax payer I am also very interested in whether or not this was an "on-the-clock" event. I certainly hope that the time spent on the bridge in a tribute to a co-worker was personal time. Also, the picture shows 3 fire engines on the bridge. Is the use of "company" vehicles permitted for non-official use? Mr. Schelden, a follow up would be appreciated. When one of my colleagues at work passes away, which has happened several times unfortunately, I take a half day vacation or make up the lost time on other days if there are death related events to attend. I am not aware of any of these events impacting any one unrelated person in their daily lives. Why might this be different for fire fighters? They do a job. A valued job. For good pay. A job whose risks are perfectly known in advance. And this firefighter, may he RIP, passed away of causes unrelated to public service. Many others who serve and protect the public and come to harm while doing so do not get this treatment. Again, a clarification would be most welcome.
Pete January 23, 2014 at 07:48 PM
Richard, maybe you should speak to your employer about your time off if you are jealous that the firefighters take a little bit more of a honorable ordinance in this sort of situation than your employer does. In your job do you have flames biting at your heels or do you stand on a roof that might cave in at any moment. When you do, then you have the credibility to question these fine men and women and how they handle this sort of situation My uncle died on Monday and I was at O'Connor Mortuary on Tuesday taking care of his arrangements when I witnessed the vigil that the firefighters attend to when one of their own falls. One firefighter in full dress uniform standing outside of the room where his co-worker lies, standing at attention and looking straight ahead with no distraction. In essence guarding the body. Pretty darn impressive and if we had more honor and responsibility like this in our country, we would be better off. But Richard, I'm sure your half of a vacation day was a major sacrifice. Bravo to you.
Eileen January 23, 2014 at 08:27 PM
I will always and I say always expect that our public servants are honored when untimely things like this happen. I thank God everyday for them A firefighter saved my daughters life when she went into cardiac arrest. His only concern was to help my child. Can you Mike and Richard say you have that same unwavering conviction to do into others that you would want done unto you. So if it did cost some of our taxi dollars it was worth it.
Eileen January 23, 2014 at 08:28 PM
End of story
Pete January 24, 2014 at 12:42 AM
Amen, Eileen. Amen.
C M January 24, 2014 at 01:00 PM
I think that public servants deserve every possible respect and I'm not worried whether the firefighters were on the clock or not. If there was an emergency I have every confidence that they would have packed up and responded to that call without delay. I do, however, have to agree with Mike. The timing could have been better arranged. There will, of course, be people affected no matter what time the event takes place, but the number of affected could be minimized. The timing was terrible.. absolutely terrible. I will add that since this was a round trip to the coroners office and back, I doubt there was much thought given to the fact that there would be a tribute along the route. These types of tributes are usually for the service.
Eileen January 24, 2014 at 01:53 PM
Point taken CM and well said. It is to show you the amazing brotherhood/sisterhood these public servants have for another. It inspires me to consider those I know,work with, are in contact and how we all can have that same connection if we tried. God bless you you all st the patch. I appreciate shared opinions even if I don't agree.
Dennis Peck January 29, 2014 at 04:51 PM
Maybe they should have blocked all the lanes of the freeway and had a announcement on the TV and Radio "SIG ALERT" about it; the public could have gone around it at the time. This was inconvenient for a lot of people but that is living in the "BIG CITY"!! MIKE GET A LIFE.

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