The comeback column is here. And I have, as usual, several Fire Department personnel to thank for it. From the Los Angeles Chief Engineer William Bamatre to resident psychologist Dr Scott. From the North Hollywood fire stations, through the downtown special duty officers and ending up as far as Florida, we had our fire families come to our aid when we needed them the most. Much like the stuff they do every day.
And boy did we need our fire family the last two years. The first death we received their kind condolences as it occurred a distance away. The second, a sudden tragedy, was met with what I can only describe as an onslaught of support.
When my husband called me to meet him early one Wednesday morning I first had to get Samantha off at school, having the usual harried morning routine, and didn’t realize yet what had occurred. It is a private scenario now that I am willing to let Signal readers in on and more than glimpse of what the Fire Dept has done for my family.
When I finally got to Eddie a little after 8 am and found that we had lost another close member of our family I was surprised to hear through my husband’s tight voice that the Department had “beaten” me to him. Chiefs coming on duty and those going off had taken the time to go over and see him. One of the three Department Chaplains was still there and later another I learned would preside at the funeral services.
From the gang from the National Fire Academy, when I thought we had heard from everyone even remotely related to the Fire Department we received thoughtful e-mails and flowers. We would like to thank Kevin Berche of (edited), Derryl O’Neal of (edited), Chris Pendleton of (edited), Bob Meyer of (edited) and Pete Lamb of (edited). (We would also like to thank Tim Whyte for putting this column on The Signal’s website!)
People wondered, those that weren’t aware of the deceased Fire Department connections, why uniformed personnel were at the services. In fact, when my husband was able to explain, he had been telephoned earlier that week and told that some members would like to attend and asked if that were okay. More support couldn’t have been at a better time.
Now in the short weeks that have followed I have reflected on the benefits of MY Fire Department family. I don’t look forward to turning to them again but, with some newfound appreciation, I can certainly feel that my husband’s grief, as well as my own, has been more than slightly lessened by our Fire Family. It seems that that family has been a boon to help our little one.
And, even though my Chief has ordered about 500 thank you cards from our Stevenson Ranch Kinko’s, with our matching initials for me to use as well, I felt a bigger thank you was in order. To all of them, we are thankful that you treat all of us as family. We are richly rewarded by all you do and all of the fires you are so capable of putting out.