Friends, family, co-workers, and firefighters from across New England gathered at the Sky Meadow Country Club for a celebration of life for retired Nashua Fire Lieutenant Jess Wyman. Firefighters lined up along the long winding road leading into the packed facility where several people reflected on the impacts Wyman had on their lives as well as the humor of Wyman. Several people attending the event wore tie-dye T-shirts with “Wyan’s Warriors” on the back and the words “Camp Fully Involved” on the sleeve.

In 2007, she helped found Camp Fully Involved, a weeklong summer camp for girls ages 14 to 20 interested in exploring a career in the fire service, according to at least one speaker. “She was a woman with a dream, inspired to empower the next generation of women firefighters,” Lisa Albino, one of the camp’s two Deputy Chiefs, told the crowd.

Wyman, 52, passed away November 28, 2023, after a nearly year-long battle with what fire officials call occupational cancer, a condition linked to frequent exposure to carcinogens and other cancer-causing agents in professions such as firefighting. The long-term effects are still being realized, said firefighter Nashua Firefighter Brian Morrissey who introduced the speakers at the event. The disease “is stealing from us, stealing time from us, stealing from loved ones … and stealing from some of the strongest firefighters I’ve met.”

Lt. Wyman’s husband Chris has a long history in the fire service including working for the New Hampshire State Fire Marshal’s Office. He spoke to the crowd telling stories and bringing many laughs as he reflected on some of her colorful traits. At the end of the celebration of life, her husband had everyone who was wearing one of the tie-dye shirts stand and told them how happy Jess would be that they chose to do that.

Donations can be made in her memory to: Camp Fully Involved, PO Box 671, Middletown, CT 06457, or Nashua Firemen’s Relief Association for funding the Member Assistance Team, 70 East Hollis Street, Nashua, NH 03060.

– Fire News photo by Jeffrey Hastings