National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Age: 18
Year of Death: 2005

Justin Wisniewski

Submitted by his parents

Justin was 18 years old when he joined the Southington Volunteer Fire Department in January of 2005. On Saturday‚ April 2‚ 2005‚ during a training session‚ Justin fell 20 feet from a ladder‚ and passed away on April 3‚ 2005. Justin had a bright and promising future. He was considerate‚ inquisitive and fun loving. His potential was limitless. Our family consists of my husband and myself and our two sons‚ Matt & Justin‚ both college students.

Justin was 18 years old and a full time college student. He wanted to be a child psychiatrist‚ to work with troubled children. He was a volunteer at our church and with the local Lions Club. He just earned his Eagle Scout‚ which is the highest rank in Boy Scouts‚ and very difficult to achieve. Justin’s most recent endeavor was to join the local Volunteer Fire Department in our town‚ just like his older brother had done 4 years earlier. Matt and Justin were very close and did many things together. They were looking forward to being in the department together and going on calls together.

Justin had a smile for everyone and was always willing to help. He comes from a large family and has many friends. Justin was always there to help each and every one of them‚ with his infectious laughter‚ great smile or by using his physical strength. He put the needs of his family and friends before his own on many occasions.

Justin was the type of kid who would try any job. He started his paper route when he was 12 and kept that until he was 16 when‚ in his words‚ he could get a real job. I always felt that anyone who got up at 5:30 in the morning to deliver papers had a real job. He worked in a Chiropractors office filing and dealing with patients‚ and also worked at a local nursery doing landscaping and building fish ponds. He loved all of these jobs because he loved dealing with people. When Justin was 15 he built me a beautiful koi pond in the back yard which I always loved‚ but appreciate even more now.

Justin’s real passion was his dirt bike and his newly acquired motorcycle. He always wanted a motorcycle and his goal was to have one before he graduated high school. He worked hard‚ saved his money and reached his goal. He was so proud when he rode that bike to school on the last day. He couldn’t wait for spring to come so he could get the bike out and ride. Unfortunately that day never came.

Even in death Justin was able to give the most precious gift he had‚ himself. His organ and tissue donations not only gave the gift of life to four people‚ but sight to two others. When our boys got their driver’s licenses they signed up to be organ donors. We were so proud of them. We have been donors for many years‚ to see them make that decision on their own‚ and at such a young age was surprising. But then it shouldn’t have been because they always helped anyone who needed it. Justin was a kid who was full of life‚ laughter and fun and if he can’t be here with us at least we know that he was able to give that life‚ laughter and fun to someone else.

We held our 1st Annual Ride4Justin motorcycle benefit on May 7‚ 2006 to help fund the ‘Justin Wisniewski Firefighter Scholarship Fund’ that we‚ along with Southington Volunteer Fire Department Co. 1‚ have started in Justin’s memory. Feel free to visit to read more about the ride. There truly was no better way to honor Justin than with a motorcycle ride.

Submitted by his cousin

Justin was training to be a volunteer firefighter when he had an accident on April 2‚ 2005. He fell approximately 20 feet from a 24 foot ground ladder. He passed away on April 3‚ 2005.

Justin was also an Eagle Scout.

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  1. i attended Justin’s funeral, but never had a chance to meet him personalty. I was a department training officer when Justin passed and his death caused me to strengthen all our safety protocols while training. His loss was a loss for the Connecticut Fire Service, his life story in just 18 years demonstrated all the best aspects of the fire service, public service and love of family.
    Rest in peace brother, we will take it from here.

    – Chief Peter Struble (Ret)