Tag Archives: firefighter

Firefighter Down

My Grandma always reads the newspaper from front to back, every article, so nothing slips her attention. If she sees something that she knows I’m interested in, she’ll either sit it in front of my chair at the kitchen table, which is next to the high chair of course, or if I’m already in the kitchen she’ll tell me about it.

There was an article in the paper the other day about a firefighter that is fighting a battle of a different kind. A battle she and I are quite familiar with in our family. He has stage 4 colon cancer and has been fighting it for over a year now. The newspaper went on to say what a year he’s had with this cancer. The doctors have removed 75% of the tumors and he has been on chemo. He says that he plans to go back to work for the Fire Department at the end of the year.

His church had a silent auction yesterday and all the proceeds went to him. Grandma and I decided to go see what all they had. There were many craft items that caught her attention, especially this one quilt. She got to talking to the lady who handmade it herself. She had sewn bible scriptures in it and it was adorned in fall colors (my favorite colors). It was beautiful to see in person as it was the first item you would see when you walked in the room.

I pushed my daughter around the room, looking at the other items. There were several jewelry pieces, a few wreaths, a vase, photo frames with gift certificates, there was a gift certificate to a cake decorating place, many paintings, and a few other gift certificates. I bid on a Mary Kay basket I saw.  The thing about a silent auction is, you write your name and number down on a piece of paper and how much you bid. You never know who will come behind you and write their name down and place a higher bid, outbidding you.

I was surprised though when I was called the next day and told that I won my item. Not only that, but I had won the quilt my grandmother was looking at thoroughly all night. She and I had both put our names in the raffle. I’m really proud of that quilt and so is she. The lady who made the quilt was the one who dropped it off. Both Grandma and I had to tell her we loved the quilt.

She asked us if we knew the firefighter, Gavin Wright, and if that was why we were at the silent auction. Grandma said no, neither of us knew him. Both, she and I, have a place in our hearts for firefighters and always will. Grandma’s husband, my grandpa was a firefighter. He and a few others started the Bryant Fire Department. He retired from the Fire Department in 1997. I had a little hand in firefighting when I was in the Navy. I also have friends and relatives on the Fire Department. Every year around the holidays my Grandma and I make a huge container of homemade baked goodies and take over to the Fire Department. She has really appreciated their help during the time my Grandpa was sick. It makes their day to get homemade goodies when they’re at work, instead of spending the holidays with their family.

Still Missing Grandpa

Today would be my Grandfather’s 77th birthday. Two days ago, marked two years that he had passed away from cancer. Yesterday, my Grandmother placed flowers on his grave, something that she’s been doing for awhile now. He’s still missed by quite a few people in our family.

I was going through my computer, looking for some things for class and found a eulogy that I wrote and read at his funeral. I thought I would share. Wishing you all a blessed day.

My Grandpa

Icons, heroes, idols, someone you look up to. It starts in early childhood and with most it follows into adulthood. Almost everyone has that special person in their life and mine is my grandfather. He has many titles; my teacher – taught me how to ride a bike then later how to drive a car. My parent – he helped raise me. My sidekick – grandma named us double trouble from the things we would get ourselves into.

He was a husband to my wonderful grandmother for fifty three years. A father to three daughters. A grandfather to five granddaughters and one grandson. A great grandpa to two girls and one boy. He was a milkman, a baker, a firefighter, a mason, a Shriner, an eastern star, a preacher, and a truck driver.

But most of all he was your best friend. He was a God fearing man. Could put a smile on everybody’s face. Was quick with a joke and could always tell you a story. Enjoyed playing practical jokes or pulling pranks for fun. I’m proud to say that I had the chance to have him in my life and that I have many great stories and memories with him and many memories that I’m frequently reminded of, like the time I licked his stamp collection to his floor. I wasn’t even two yet. He use to take me to the post office, sit me on the counter, had me stick my tongue out, dab the stamp on my tongue and place it on the envelope. I had enjoyed licking stamps so much that when we got home I licked his entire stamp collection to his office floor. That was the only time he ever spanked me, which was a light tap on the bum, that hurt him more than it hurt me. He got mad for a few minutes but then laughed about it later.

He had such a sweet tooth. Grandma had sent us to the store with the check book to pick up meat and eggs, wecame home with several bags of sweet goodies. Grandma said ‘man, that’s a lot of burger meat and eggs.’ The next time she sent us to the store with $5. I had my checkbook that time. Walked in the door and grandma says, you sure bought a lot of stuff with $5. It was all on sale, I replied.

After he came home from the hospital from his accident in North Carolina he was doing such a good job walking, we needed a few things from the store and he asked me if he could drive. Of course I wasn’t going to say no. He had done perfectly well that when we got home I told grandma what a good job he had done. ‘You did what?’ She yelled. I did not know that he wasn’t suppose to drive.

I had the chance to go over the road with him for three weeks when I was nineteen. That was an experience I’ll always remember. We were in upstate New York and it was getting dark, then it started to snow and the bottom fell. Grandpa was sitting close to the steering wheel and I was leaning close to the dash on the passenger side and said ‘Grandpa, you’re driving in the middle of the road.’ He replied, ‘I can’t see the road.’ ‘Grandpa there’s a car coming.’ ‘I know honey, I can see that.’ The car had turned off onto another road before we got to it. He then said ‘I’ll pull off onto a rest area.’ We went a few miles down the road before we found a rest area. We couldn’t see the road from the ditch so he decided to continue on to his drop off.

We went to North Carolina, which was dripping sweat hot. Then to Houston, Texas. For those who have been there the Interstate goes around in a circle and I noticed and pointed out to grandpa that he passed that sign twice, he said ‘I know. I can’t get over to the outside lane to exit off.’ We went to Beaumont, Texas/ Louisiana. It was night time when we pulled into the place he needed to be. He stopped and got out of the truck, walked to a little building, then came back, put the truck in gear and began driving towards a larger building. I began to notice the surrounds, we were getting closer to the ship and then I looked down and notice we were on a dock, a wooden dock. ‘Grandpa, where are you going?’ ‘Down this way.’ ‘But you’re driving on a wooden dock.’ ‘That’s where they said I had to go.’ ‘Not with me in the truck, on a wooden dock, stop and let me out, I’ll walk.’ I saw the ship was marked, showing the water line was at 60′ deep.

Grandpa was always quite the prankster, always playing a practical joke on somebody. Everybody always came to him to decorate a cake for them no matter the occasion. I had the chance to be an icing tester many times. On one occasion I had asked if I could taste the icing and as always he said yes. As he was putting the finally touches on one side of the cake, I had cleared the other side of the cake entirely of its icing. He had turned the cake to look at it and noticed what I did. He had to clear the entire cake of icing and start over again. I believe I was three.

He was a very handsome man and was never ever selfish. He was always kind and would help others in anything the need. Always talked to everyone, where ever he went. And had a contagious smile. He had a love for life, friends, family and adventure and never complained once about anything. He was the rock of this family. We may have lost a wonderful man here on earth but heaven received an angel. I will miss our adventures, his pranks, jokes and stories but I know I will get to be with him again and continue on with our memories.

Rescue Me Final Episode, “Ashes”

  Rescue Me Final Episode, “Ashes”

        Rescue Me is a television show based on New York City firefighter’s after the tragedy of 11 September 2001. Quite often, names of those who fell that day are mentioned on the show to honor and memorialize them. The series also shows, in a dramatical sense, the daily lives of a firefighter at work and at home.
The last episode of the final season, appropriately titled “Ashes,” starts out with the scene of tragedy. A ladder truck from 62 Firehouse is sitting amongst a rubble ridden ground. Two firefighters stand nearby with sadden faces, staring at the ground and shaking their heads.
A few moments later, the scene changes to show flag covered caskets being wheeled down the aisle of the church as bagpipes play.
Lieutenant Kenneth Shea, also known as Lou (played by John Scurti) walks to the podium to give his eulogy, “Today we are gathered, together, here to honor five men. My men. My brothers. Five men who were given a choice. To run. To flee for safe ground. To seek clean, fresh air. Knowing the danger…” He continues his speech as if it was the scene going up for an Emmy Award nomination. It was followed by a roar of applause, cheers, and a standing ovation.
Tommy Gavin (played by Denis Leary) opens his eyes and I realize I was a witness to another one of Tommy’s avid dreams. Chief ‘Needles’ Nelson (played by Adam Ferrara) reminds Tommy that since he was the acting lieutenant and the senior officer, he is now appointed lieutenant. The first thing he has to do is write the report for headquarters on the accident he was a part of — the same accident that took his best friend, Lou Shea, life. It also means that he has to relive the accident all over again.
Tommy has been plagued with the horrors he has gone through as a firefighter. The victims he could not rescue haunt him now and then. The only relief from his ghosts was drinking. He managed to get sober, now, and the ghosts have not returned, and the horrific dreams are not as often as they were.
The rest of the crew, Franco Rivera (played by Daniel Sunjata), Mike Siletti (played by Michael Lombardi), Sean Garrity (played by Steven Pasquale), and Bart ‘Shawn’ Johnston (played by Larenz Tate), looking beaten and battered from the accident, sit around the firehouse’s kitchen table wondering if they should stay, find a new job, or transfer to a different firehouse. Meanwhile, Tommy has filled out his retirement paperwork and turned them in. Tommy soon learns that he might not be cut out for civilian life, which his daughter Katy (played by Olivia Crocicchia) and his wife Janet (played by Andrea Roth) can only concur.
Lou’s funeral benediction was given by Father Mickey (played by Robert John Burke), whom is also Tommy’s cousin. Many of Lou’s family and friends each spoke kind words and shared memories that they had of Lou. Tommy then reads a letter he found in Lou’s locker, written by Lou, a few memories he wanted to share of his time on earth. “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly is played on bagpipes as Mickey and Tommy scatter Lou’s ashes over a cliff into the sea below.
The episode ends ceremoniously as the first episode of season one began; new firefighter recruits standing at attention, yet again. Tommy lectures them at how underserving the new recruits are to be standing in front of a flag with 343 firefighter’s names on it. He goes on to tell them how those 343 men fell as heroes on 11 September 2001. Just as in Tommy’s dream of Lou’s eulogy, they could have fled for safer ground but instead, they went in to save lives, even though it cost theirs.
I am truly amazed at the acting talent in this show. There are a few big names but many are unknown. This episode was written by the show’s creator’s Denis Leary and Peter Nolan. The series began airing in 2004. Each episode gives an insight of what a firefighter deals with in his day to day job, the calls he goes on, the stress he goes under, and the emotional impact it has on each firefighter. Not to mention, every other episode 11 September 2001 is brought up and how many men gave their lives. Each fire house has a small memorial, a plaque hanging on the wall, with those names of the fallen. Each firefighter in the show has each had some emotional connection to the tragedy. Some of them lost brothers, cousins, and or best friends. Some of them were even there at Ground Zero helping out.
I have really enjoyed watching the show and continue to re-watch each episode on DVD. My grandfather was a firefighter and retired after twenty five years of service. I can understand what a firefighter goes through and commend them each on their service and braveness. I also had a small participation in the tragedy. I was stationed on board the USS George Washington CVN 73 as it was ordered by President Bush to make haste to New York’s harbor. We arrived later that night and patrolled the harbor for several days.
The language of this television show may not be suitable for children, but I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a fast-paced drama TV show.