March 06, 2008


When I tell people I am a firefighter (along with my husband) people are surprised. I am always surprised that they are. I live in a state with few paid fire departments. The majority are volunteer. I live and play in my community so I give back by serving with the department.

On February 29, 2008, a fire broke out in a neighboring community. All residents got out safely but one resident remembered her dog and ran back into the burning building. She didn't come out. Two young firemen - not from my department - ran in after her, they didn't come out either. The firefighters and victim were pulled to safety and rushed to the nearest burn center. The woman who stupidly but understandably ran in to save her beloved pet died. One firefighter was sent home with minor injuries. The other had severe burns to over 75% of his body.

I knew him. He was a cute and sweet and kind boy of 21. I say I knew him because yesterday he died. The pain - I cannot imagine. Not only his pain but that of his family. His brother and dad are in that department too.

Tomorrow will be the visitation and Saturday a full fallen firefighter funeral. Men and women from all over the state and country will attend to pay respects to a brother who gave his life trying to save someone else. The real heros as they say.

I will pay my respects with my flag and my badge covered in black to symbolize mourning. I will pray his family finds peace. I will pray no one in my department ever suffers such a fate and I will pray that someone steps up to the plate to fill his very big shoes. It is a brotherhood of men and women who put their lives on the line for their communities every day. It is, as part of that brotherhood that I will say goodbye to a good kid with a big heart.

I will continue to volunteer, I will hold hands of victims, I will cut cars into pieces, I will assist at burning buildings and I will remember that someone is counting on me to be there to help. So, next time you find out that someone is volunteering for their community and not just as a firefighter, don't ask why - ask why you aren't too.

Posted by Oddybobo at March 6, 2008 02:17 PM | TrackBack

What a tragedy! We often don't think about the people who tirelessly give of their own time to protect us until something like this happens! I like your last sentence,,,we all could give back something.

Posted by: Michele at March 6, 2008 03:07 PM

I'm so very sorry, Oddy. Like you said, the woman made a stupid move and now a good man is dead. I think that's the definition of tragic.

I'll pray for his family. It takes a special kind of person to run into a burning building when everyone else is running out. God bless and keep you, your husband and every firefighter.

Posted by: pam at March 6, 2008 03:12 PM

I just read the story. Absolutely horrible and, like pam says, it takes a very special person to run into an inferno to rescue another life. I never underestimate the strength and bravery of anyone who could do that.

Posted by: Erica at March 6, 2008 08:40 PM

What a beautiful tribute. To this amazing young man and ALL who work to keep us safe.

Thank you for sharing....and thank you for stepping up.

My prayers go to the family, friends and of course the brotherhood.....

Posted by: Tammi at March 6, 2008 09:38 PM

Oh boy - I have tears. What a lovely tribute, Oddy - may all heroes be remembered as well...

Posted by: Richmond at March 7, 2008 10:16 AM

My heart goes out to you, your fellow fire fighters and that young man's family.

Posted by: Omnibus Driver at March 7, 2008 10:17 AM

Every one has said it so well. My heart and prayers go out to that family and to yours. Keep safe.

Posted by: vw bug at March 7, 2008 10:52 AM

My thoughts and prayers echo yours.

Posted by: Jenna at March 11, 2008 02:13 PM