Monday, September 21, 2015


Sometimes life takes over. June 2014- Now 2015 has been insane. I'll spare you the boring details and hospitalizations. We are clearly not done, but I am still here. And in the grand scheme of things that is all that matters. Another school year is upon us, another 9/11 memorial has been celebrated as we vow to #NeverForget and my 40th has come and gone. And I am still standing.

This is my first post of 2015, and we are already well on our wait to finding 2016.

This past weekend I traveled to Colorado Springs, to the IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial. It was decommissioned earlier this year and recommissioned on Saturday. It is breath taking. Captain August Gutzmann, MFD, was added to the memorial and his granddaughter asked if I would join her out there. It took some juggling of schedules and my amazing FF holding down the ship so that I could head out there for the weekend, but I am so grateful that I did.  

It was hard to prepare for the ceremony and NOT put myself in the shoes of the family. It was a concerted effort to clear it from my mind as I got dressed. It literally took me telling myself to knock it off and just get moving. But, as I met the families and as I spoke with those left behind, it crept back into my brain. These families all knew it could happen to their FF. But survival tells you to place that in the not now bucket of your brain. No matter if the loss was 2015 or 1985, the loss was real. The pain came back. The wives, the children, the parents, the grandchildren all remembered that pain and grief as though it was yesterday. The ceremony honors the fallen, but reminds the living that they are not alone. And, more importantly, we have not forgotten.

I was very proud to be part of the Milwaukee Fire family. The Honor Guard and Pipes and Drums were AMAZING. I ran to our bass drummer to share in the excitement after the parade Friday night because the excitement was just electrifying. I was so proud of all the practice time that our pipers put in for the breathtaking parade Friday and Saturday nights and the absolutely chilling performance that was part of the ceremony Saturday at the memorial. It was an experience that I will not forget.

Since I am aware that images are far more powerful than anything I could ever type, I will leave you with these. 

Be safe and come home to us.
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