@#$$%^^&*(%#*^*&^&^%$# AHHHHHHH!!!!! SHIT! I have so much on my mind right now that I can’t even think straight much less function normally (good thing I’m on break huh). Try to bear with me and I’ll do my best to lead you through a tour of whats on my mind. You all know I pretty much work from sun up to sun down on my off days. Yesterday was no exception. Nothing went right. I had a ton of hay down, made plans, arranged the help and went to making square bales. I got em all on the ground in the beautiful, bright, hot..not a cloud in the sky sunshine. Then, we began to pick em up. I shoulda wore my water wings! The sky went to pitch black and the storms rolled in. RUINED! Another financial hit that I’m not real sure I can stand. I scattered and went as hard as I could to salvage what was possible and then get all the equipment under cover. Next thing you know, it’s 10:30 and I missed Chris Naum’s live Pod Cast Taking it to the streets. Because I missed it live, I brought it up this morning and tuned in before leaving the house. I have mentioned it before but I’ll add again that I have a lot of respect for Chris and his views. I will also add to that and say that despite that fact, I don’t always agree with (or understand) everything he says. As I listened in this morning, several issues struck me and I wished I had the opportunity to have called in last night (that said, I know I can call Chris at anytime and discuss these issues but feel as if it would have made a better impact had it have been done on the live show). Anyway, I’m not sure if I’ll call Chris first or not but I will post on those topics real soon. The reason I wont get into it tonight is because while mowing hay and pondering those thoughts and the pod cast this morning, I received a disturbing call.It seems as though a former brother and member of our department allegedly murdered his wife and then took his own this morning or sometime last night. Sadly, this leaves behind 2 children. Some local news coverage here. I stopped the tractor and began making the necessary calls. There are some people (including me) who had worked with Tim (when he was here) that I thought should hear the news from a brother rather than from the news. Now, that in itself may sound odd to most of you. Tim didn’t work here anymore. He QUIT. He left several years ago and went to the railroad. Is / was he still a brother? When does it stop? He wasn’t paying dues anymore. He was somehow or another still using IAFF tags on his vehicle. Did he think he was still on? Not long after he left, he also tried unsuccessful to get his job back. Was his heart still on the job? Some will say Tim was a good guy, others will say different. How can a “good guy” do what he did? I’ll say this. I’m not so sure Tim Drew was a “fireman”. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t. He did however pull some time on the job and felt and became a part (in whatever way) of our brotherhood. I work beside men and women today who I would put in the same category as Tim. Not a fireman but working for the Fire Department. Let me explain. When he came through the door, he was the biggest man I had ever seen that close up. “Muscle man” is not even close enough.. he was huge. Was he physically able to do the job.. yea. He once carried me across the back lot of Station #9 (the old K-mart parking lot) upside down, one handed by my ankle. The whole time, shaking his other finger in my face telling me how he was gonna kill me if I ever fretted him again. He once participated in the National Combat Challenge. HE BLEW IT OUT OF THE WATER! The officials / judges etc didn’t know what to think or do. Most every other competitor had sponsors boots, gloves, PPE, SCBA’s etc. Tim (and the other Roanoke Fire Dept. members)competed in rubber boots and shit gear. Tim’s time had never been reached before. When he got to the dummy drag (unwinded), he simply reached down, picked it up, slung it over his shoulder (as if it were a sack of potatoes) had proceeded to the finish line. They ended up giving him a “DQ” stating video evidence that both feet were off the ground at the same time while walking to the finish line (their definition was that he ran). That night, EVERY sponsor in attendance wanted Tim and Roanoke in their product and for them to re-enter the next day. Needless to say, they didn’t take any offers and returned home knowing they had made their mark and would be remembered. So, without a doubt; Tim was one of the strongest men I have ever known. His downside??? He couldn’t take the sight of blood. Tim was hired right at or just after the “merger” and it was the EMS side of our job that he couldn’t handle. I have several memories of Tim and the job but one in particular that stands out was a MVA with multiple fatalities. Tim was the fireman on the first in Engine and I was there on Engine #5 as the extrication company. Long story short and without HIPA violations, later in the incident, I ended up inside the overturned vehicle working to free a pinned occupant. This young girl was pinned next to her deceased mother. Needless to say, it was neither a pretty sight nor an easy task (for any involved). Tim had the task of passing me tools / equipment and I seen “it” in his face as he would stretch into the mangled wreck to pass off the tools etc. He spoke with me weeks later and told me he didn’t know how we (Me and Scott) did it. He didn’t know how we could see and work around what we did (and do) and yet get the job done. Sadly, I was too young at the time to know how to answer. I’m not sure I know today but will say that some of us can do the job… while others cant. It takes a special breed and I’ve often said that it can’t be taught. You either can or can’t because they can’t teach “HEART”. It’s the same as when crawling down that pitch dark hallway, sucking hot air through your bottle and reaching out to find life all the while afraid of what it will be when you reach it. As Firemen, we keep crawling. Whether it’s into that mangled vehicle to comfort and free that child next to her dead mother or whether it’s down that dark smokey hallway. It’s what we do. It affects us all in one way or another, some are just able to handle or sort through it better than others. (or we hide and hold it in until we explode.. but that’s another post..) I just wonder how much of what Tim had to see and do was he still holding on to? He felt connected enough to run our tags. He tried to get his job back. Was he carrying our burdens? We had another brother a short while back who took his own life. This member received a full honors funeral. I wonder if there will even be a uniform at Tim’s service. I wonder should it be? Was he “on the job” today??? No. But, at one time he was and while there, he stood, fought and worked beside me. Not many men share the bond that we do but like him or not, agree with me or not.. Tim and I went through a few doors together. When do we stop being “Brothers”?
May God forgive him of his sins, bless and look after his and her families and those left behind.
Captain Wines