Fallen Baltimore firefighter Rodney W. Pitts III is honored at “Fallen Heroes Memorial”

BALTIMORE – A fallen Baltimore City firefighter will be honored Friday as a “fallen hero.”

Rodney W. Pitts III will be enshrined in the Fallen Heroes Memorial at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.

Pitts died while beating one fire in terraced house with two alarms iin October in the 5200 block of Linden Heights Avenue in Northwest Baltimore. Lt. Dillon Rinaldo also died in the fire.

Pitts spoke with WJZ’s Stephon Dingle about her son’s legacy and what it means to her that he will be enshrined in the Fallen Heroes Memorial.

“Every day is a challenge. Every day,” Monica Gant said.

Gant finds solace in the cemetery of fallen heroes at Delaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium.

She leaves a fresh bouquet of flowers for her only son and always tries to beautify the room she visits almost every day.

She is still trying to cope as she mourns the death of her hero, her son.

“The day it happened, I got sick at work, like I just didn’t feel well,” Gant said. “I felt like something wasn’t right.”

A mother’s instinct became the nightmare she hoped would never come true.

On October 19, a house fire sent Pitts and four of his colleagues to the hospital, where he later died.

“Numb, I was numb,” Gant said. “I thought, ‘No, this is a joke, this can’t be happening,’” Gant said.

Gant’s son sacrificed his life for his dream job. He is known for his character, his kindness and his humor.

Nearly 2,000 people attended his funeral.

Now Pitts’ mother awaits the Fallen Heroes Ceremony at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens to honor him.

“We just sit here and talk, we just talk,” Gant said. “I’ll tell him what’s going on and he’ll guide me.”

But for Gant, the healing journey is the pride she has in her son whose name will never be forgotten.

Gant’s mission is to preserve and enhance Pitts’ legacy.

As she cares for Pitts’ two children, she is left with memories of his charm, humor and kind words of encouragement during his absence.

“Stay strong,” Gant said. “He said, ‘Ma, you’re strong, you got this, we’re in this together.’ So what he is teaching me now is: don’t give up, stay strong.”

There’s nothing like a mother’s love, and for Gant, that love will last a lifetime for her hero, her son.