Annual vigil honors Rochester firefighters on Christmas Eve

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(ABC 6 News) – For many, Christmas is a time of joy and being with those close to them. In Rochester, it’s also a time of remembrance.

On Christmas Eve in 1953, Rochester firefighters Ambrose Riley and Stanley O’Brien lost their lives while trying to save 9-year-old John Stephenson from the icy waters of Silver Lake.

Every year, the Rochester Fire Department holds a memorial service to honor all three lives lost that Christmas Eve Day.

"It is a sad day but also we try to bring some joy out of it, and you know, just by remembering what these two gentlemen did that day and the sacrifice that they made," Rochester Firefighter, Spencer Klemm, said.

Rochester Fire hopes this ceremony reminds people of the sacrifices first responders make and to be careful on the ice this time of year.