Police, firefighters play soundtrack for fallen through ‘Guns N’ Hoses’ band
A group of bagpipers and drummers in Southwest Florida are made up of police officers, firefighters and veterans. On Memorial Day, the notes they played rang out honoring those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice.
Together this band of active and retired public servants form the Guns N’ Hoses Pipes N’ Drums of Southwest Florida.
“We play for all of our military,” Band President John McMahon said. “We don’t charge. This is all volunteer music.
Band member Nancy Miller does not just move to the music. She signs each word of the songs played by Guns N’ Hoses Pipes N’ Drums of Southwest Florida.
“We are cops and fireman and we have EMS and military on the band,” said John McMahon, band president and drummer, and North Collier Fire Dept asst. chief. “What’s really important that we all come together.”
“I’m the first ASL signer interpreter in a pipe band,” Miller said.
As a former police officer, Miller represents the ‘Guns’ in this band of badges. Her role here is inspired by what she lost in the line of duty.
“I ended up losing my hearing and I had to retire,” Miller said. “This is the closest thing to it right now. I thought what if I take their music, learn the words to it, and bring it to a deaf culture.”
Even when it’s not Memorial Day, the band’s mission is to remember all our nation’s heroes who gave their lives, fighting for the freedoms we cherish in our country.
McMahon is a drummer in the band. He is also assistant chief of North Collier Fire Department. McMahon said mixing all the agencies together creates something special.
“We are definitely a band of brothers and sisters,” McMahon said. “There’s always been a rivalry between cops and firemen. We always have fun with each other.”
No matter what badge is on each band member’s shoulder, they’re all one part of a whole that play pipes and drums to honor our fallen heroes and unite our communities.
“Looking at the crowd and the audience and how they appreciate what you do, the service,” McMahon said. “We all have a common mission, and our mission for this band is taking care of our own, so we all come together.”