VA Task Force 2 Fallen Service Dog “Lieutenant Winters” to be Honored at Fallen Virginia Firefighters Annual Memorial

Friday, June 03, 2011

​A rescue dog that died during training with VA Task Force 2, based in Virginia Beach, will be among those honored at the 14th annual Virginia Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service, to be held at noon Saturday, June 4, at the Richmond Raceway Complex, Old Dominion Building.  Seven firefighters who died in the line of duty, or who have been recognized by the Virginia Line of Duty Act in the last year, will be honored for their bravery and dedicated public service.

The fallen firefighters to be honored are: Assistant Chief Carl Persing of Dale City Volunteer Fire Department and City of Manassas, Firefighter Timothy Pigg of Amherst Volunteer Fire Department, Chief Posey Dillon of Rocky Mount Volunteer Fire Department, Firefighter William “Danny” Altice of Rocky Mount Volunteer Fire Department, Firefighter William Harold “Hal” Clark of Atlantic Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company, Battalion Chief William Obenchain Jr. of Roanoke Fire-EMS, and Firefighter Zygimantas Zalys of City of Manassas. 


A special tribute is planned for three K-9s who died in the past year. One is Lieutenant Winters (“Win”) of FEMA’s VA Task Force 2.


On June 4, 2010, Lieutenant Winters died during training. He was searching a rubble pile for a live victim. He entered through a small opening of the pile and a piece of concrete reinforcing wire punctured his chest cavity, causing internal bleeding. Although Win was injured, he finished his search, located the victim, and laid at her side. The canine handler immediately sensed a problem and Win was quickly transported to Bay-Beach Veterinary Hospital, where he died shortly after arriving. Win died doing what he was trained and loved to do -- performing his job to the very end.  


Lieutenant Winters was a 7-year-old male Belgian Malinois/Shepherd and resided in Albemarle County, Va.  He joined VA Task Force 2 in 2005 after receiving his advanced K-9 search certification.  He was deployed on five occasions, including in response to the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf states.

Win’s owner was devastated by this unexpected loss and does not to wish to be contacted at this time.  A private burial was conducted at the family farm in Charlottesville.   


This year is also the first time in the history of the memorial service that it will be broadcast live over the Internet.  To see a live feed, visit  beginning at 11:30 a.m., with preliminary information on the firefighters being honored, followed at noon by the full service.


A reception, sponsored by the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association, Virginia State Firefighters Association, Virginia Professional Firefighters and Southwest Virginia Firefighters Association, will be held for fallen firefighter family members and guests immediately after the service. Both the service and the reception are open to the public.


For more information, contact Battalion Chief Tim Riley at (757) 385-1075 or 


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