Dad was a fireman, coming and going. He had courage, a sense of humor like no other than a fireman, and the need to take risks above and beyond the call of duty. He was a great man; husband, father, Christian, son, brother, friend, neighbor, worker, and of course, fireman. Firefighting was what Dad loved best - besides his family, that is. I think working on cars and the trucks and tractors at Fire Station 109 was his other love.
Dad loved to work, this is true, and worked a lot he did. He also spent an incredible amount of time with us kids - four adopted little ones ranging from ages five through thirteen. He used to rearrange his schedule at the station so he could take us camping (another love of Dad that I couldn't help but fall in love with as well). We camped where there was room and safety for us kids to hike, fish, play with the camp fire when Mom wasn't watching, swim, ride our German fold up bicycles, and generally just be kids and have an awesome time doing it.
I only recently noticed that in most of the photos we have with Dad (there aren't many, he was the one on the other side of the camera all the time) I am standing, sitting, clinging to Dad, seemingly being the one to be closest to him as possible. It is heart breaking when I look at that happy little girl with her Dad and feeling the void that was never filled since he went to Heaven.
Dad passed away on March 28, 1971 from injuries sustained while on the job. It was right after the Sylmar quake and I've read the commander's report about what really happened but I can't seem to retain memory about it. Re-reading it is too difficult for me even though it's been almost forty years since Dad died. I was eleven when I lost him and people tell me I haven't recovered from losing my Dad yet. I doubt I ever will. He was - still is my Hero, right next to God.
You can see a slideshow of Dad here - I work on it as I can but it's very difficult.
Love you firefighters, may you be safe in all that you do for us. God bless you all.