Going to the funeral isn't enough ….

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Rhett wrote a post back in June of 2011. The title was  ” Go to the funeral … you OWE it to them ” (click the title for a link to the post). It was a GREAT article but I think  he  “stopped short”.

Now, you all know that Rhett and I are very close and I can tell you that we are of the same opinion on this issue. I say he “stopped short” but also know that it was only because the point he was making in the article was attending the funerals of our fallen Brothers and Sisters. He could have written pages on top of pages on the topic (and been right).

Adding my 2 cents, I’ll say that simply “going to the funeral” isn’t enough. In his post, he spoke of “The Brotherhood”. We ( Rhett and I ) don’t throw that word around lightly. Atop “Brotherhood”  there is a phrase we in the Fire Service hear alot that also shouldn’t be used lightly … “Never Forget”….. they go hand in hand.

What happens after the funeral? Who looks after the family and loved ones left behind? If you simply attend the services to let everyone see you were there and think you’ve done your duty …YOU’RE WRONG.

Recently, I posted on 3 of our ( Roanoke Fire/EMS) fallen members. Back on December 23, 2011 I remembered our Chief Billy Obenchain  in a post titled  ” If you Want to be a Clown …. Remembering our Fallen …” (Click the title for a direct link). The 23rd marked the 2 year anniversary of Chief Billy’s passing.

Within that post, I also mentioned / remembered Captain Chris Brown. Chris was taken suddenly in October 2009.

In my  ” 2011 Year in Review “  post, the funerals of 2 more of our Brothers  ( Slayton and Palmer ) headlined the months of  January and June.

My point here is this …. I didn’t just attend the funerals. These men are thought and spoke of often in my house. They are not forgotten!

Our last day on duty was Sunday the 8th. That was the 1 year anniversary of Battalion Chief Bobbie Slayton’s death. I wrote a post about it. Actually, I wrote 3. I didn’t publish any of them. They were some of the most difficult posts that I have written since I began blogging. My dad and Bobbie were close …VERY close. Dad drove Bobbie for years. Bobbie and I were good friends as well. Hell … Bobbie was friends with EVERYBODY.. but we were close. Road trips, hours in the garage etc … a have a TON of memories…. I just can’t get them into words.

George ( my current Lt. George Perdue ) worked for Bobbie for several years. He worked at what is now considered “Historic” #1 which is where Bobbie’s heart was.  You can very often catch Georgie telling stories from back in “those” days.

Although for not as long, Boots also worked for Bobbie. It was later in his career after for some unknown reason Admin. pulled Bobbie from his beloved B-Shift and moved him to  C-Shift.

In our current assignments, Randy is the only member who didn’t work for Chief Slayton.  It doesn’t matter … he’s heard the stories .. WE HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN.

We went by the cemetery and spent a little time today …. reflecting. It was a good visit.

We took a towel and a bottle of water.

We knelt to wash the dirt from the headstone ( due to recent rains, the stones were just slightly dirty). Randy knelt beside us. Not only that, he helped clean the markers.

We visited two graves today. Firefighter/Medic David “Dave” Palmer was also laid to rest in this cemetery. Like Chief Slayton’s, “Big Dave’s” marker was cleaned as well.

Randy  knew or worked with or  for neither of these men yet he understood why we were there, doing what we were doing. At least I hope he understood.

He has heard us tell the stories and talk about these members ( and others ). In Rhett’s article, he spoke of  “paying his respects” … Randy paid his today and it wasn’t by going to the funerals.

Could this be how at least part of  “The Brotherhood”  is passed along? I think it is.

These men were a part of our Department, our “family”, OUR “Brotherhood” . They are a part of our history … our traditions…. the subjects of great stories,  unbelievable acts and even some good firehouse pranks.

You don’t “owe” it to them to go to the funeral or to even remember their names and stories …. THEY’VE EARNED IT !

Read more on Chief Bobbie Slayton’s passing  HERE  HERE  and  HERE

More on Firefighter / Medic Dave Palmer’s passing  HERE  

More on Roanoke’s Chief Billy Obenchain  HERE  and   HERE 

More on Captain Chris Brown HERE  and  HERE

How do YOU  remember your fallen Brothers and Sisters? How do YOU pass their memories along to new members?

Stay SAFE and in House!

Captain Wines