Randall “Randy” Montgomery—it’s a name not many will recognize. But he knows all the names on the Firefighters Memorial Wall.
Montgomery, a third-generation engraver, has added every name to the wall at Los Angeles County Fire Department Headquarters since the memorial groundbreaking in 1995. On May 1, he placed four new names on the wall in preparation for Wednesday’s memorial ceremony.
Based in Monrovia, Montgomery has worked all over the country, doing the engraving for the state and national firefighters memorials, as well as the granite Pentagon Memorial dedicated to the victims of Sept. 11, the U.S. Air Force Memorial in Arlington, and the National Medal of Honor Memorial Site at Riverside National Cemetery.
Doing the memorials “is an honor,” Montgomery said, noting that most of his work is to recognize major donors for institutions.
“I’ve got a great job,” he said. “I get to work in a different place every day.”
As part of his work, Montgomery sees a lot of places before they’ve opened to the public. One such place was Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim. All his work was done at night, and as he worked, employees tested many of the rides and other attractions.
There was no music, and very few other people.
“It was just me, the electricians, security out in the front office somewhere,” he said. “It was like a Twilight Zone.”
Friday’s job was much less surreal. As bagpipers rehearsed in the background, Montgomery applied computer-generated stencils to the Firefighters Memorial Wall, then sandblasted the new names: James F. Horton, Janet L. Chatelain, John D. Mazzocco and Darrell Rice.
While applying the stencils, he remarked that usually, he’s not the subject of the story.
“The engravings are the subject—and the day that they’re engraved,” he said.
Photo gallery: Engraver Randall Montgomery adds the newest names to the Firefighters Memorial Wall. Photos by Nicole Mooradian.