Everyone's heard the phrase "Life is short", and those of us in the fire department are all too familiar with how true this can be sometimes. But it doesn't *truly* sink in until it's one of your own that's taken well before their time. And when this happens, everyone echoes something along the lines of "It's always the good ones".

In my career as a firefighter, I've had the displeasure to experience many firefighter and police officer deaths, Line Of Duty and otherwise. And even more close calls that make your ***hole pucker until a string wouldn't even pass through (it's a scale called the "Pucker Factor"). Some were friends, all were brothers. And each time you go home and think long and hard about what you have now and how quickly it can be taken from you. It's in these times that you honestly are thankful for everything you have. You go home, hug the significant other, the kids, siblings, parents, pets, friends.... And of course they don't ask why. Those who were with you know, and those who weren't understand the look on your face.

I have never been more thankful than today that I was *NOT* at the firehouse two days ago. My engine company handled the cardiac arrest of one of my Lieutenants and friends, and he sadly did not make it. Heart attack at 43. So young, and he's now a statistic ((Heart attacks are one of the leading causes of death among firefighters.)).

I'm not sure if I really had a point to all this. I guess it was just my way of saying goodbye. Gene, you'll truly be missed brother. You were an excellent officer and even better person. Things definitely won't be the same around the station without you. I hope they are as happy to have you at the big fire station in the sky as we were to have you down here in our little one on earth.

Never forget.