The 2013 Texas Fallen Heroes Memorial Ride & Cook-Off is dedicated to the memory of Captain James Harlow and Firefighter Damion Hobbs who died in the line of duty on April 12, 2009 in service to the Houston Fire Department.
James Arthur Harlow Sr., born May 18, 1959, passed away April 12, 2009. He is survived by his loving wife of 29 years, Debbie Harlow; daughter, Brandy Rooth, and husband, Ron; sons James Harlow, Jr. and wife, Jessica; Travis Harlow and wife, Amber; grandchildren, Avery, Darrah, Payton, and Karrah; parents, James and Virginia Harlow; sisters, Terri Perricone and husband, Phillip; Christie Harlow; brother, David Harlow and wife, Pam.
He served with the Houston Fire Department for 29 years, 3 months, and 15 days. Since 2004, he served as a captain at Fire Station 26.
A devoted husband, father and grandfather, James was also a dedicated, respected, and highly approachable officer. On fire scenes Captain Harlow was quick and precise, always ready to tackle a challenge. With fire victims, he had a caring and helpful demeanor.
Always the optimist in any situation, Captain Harlow would offer reassurance to his crews as he spoke his favorite motto in his East Texas accent, “Everything is going to be all right.”
James will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor from the Houston Fire Department and the Medal of Honor from the International Association of Fire Fighters.
Damion was born on December 24, 1978, in Galveston, TX. Damion grew up in Alvin, TX where he graduated in May of 1998.
He enlisted in the United States Army during the summer of 1999, did his basic training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. Damion served four years active duty as an Army Intelligence Officer in the US First Calvary Unit at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.
Upon completing his active duty, Damion signed up with the National Guard, stationed at Ellington Field in Houston, TX where he was assigned to the 1/149th Aviation Attack Battalion. He served with the battalion until his death on April 12, 2009.
He entered Houston Fire Academy the first time in November of 2004 as part of the Houston Fire Department Class 31. During this training, he was called to active duty. Damion served an 18 month tour in Iraq as part of Operation Iraq Freedom from November 2005 to August 2007. Upon returning home from Iraq, Damion again applied and was accepted to Houston Fire Department’s Training on June 16, 2008. This time he graduated and received his badge, walking across the stage on March 3, 2009.
His only assignment as a Houston firefighter was on B-shift at Station 26, the “Dixie Dawgs.” He loved his crew and they made him feel welcome, giving him the nickname “Rookie.” One member of his crew had even lent him a t-shirt with that on it, Damion was proudly wearing that shirt the morning of his death. Being a firefighter was his dream and a passion that his family is happy he got to fulfill. It was his calling, serving others in their worst time of need.
Damion led an active private life enjoying sports and going fast. He could be found many weekends wake boarding behind his boat or riding his 2007 Honda CBR1000RR Repsol Limited Edition motorcycle, which he would readily boast he had gotten up to 198 miles an hour.
Always with friends and always the one to make everyone laugh, Damion was revered by his friends and family as someone who had an uncanny ability to inject levity into most any situation. He was loved for that.
He found the love of his life Crystal Marin in the fall of 2008, at the time of his death they were shopping for engagement and wedding rings.
He will be greatly missed but never forgotten. Saying goodbye was the hardest thing we had to do, but we try to remember what he always said “Good times!!”