In baseball my favorite player was a man named Lou Gehrig. This player was dealt what he called “a bad blow” (a fatal disease) that forced him from his career and took his life shortly thereafter.
Gehrig gave an epic speech at Yankee Stadium to tell everyone about his situation. I’m not trying to compare myself to Gehrig, but I modified his speech to tie into the ending chapter of my time in Stafford County.
Folks, for the past several weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the “Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth.” Let me explain.
I have worked in Fire & EMS for the past 35 years. I have received more than my fair share of kindness and encouragement from my fellow workers and customers during those years.
Just look at the grand men and women I have worked with over the years and now lately. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his or her career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I’m lucky.
On the fire side who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have worked with Jerry Sanders and Marshal Sanders along with the Stafford and St. John firefighters? How about those up north – Tom Fisher and Mark Clasen along with their firefighters? And then on the west side is Rob Murrow with his Macksville firefighters.
On the EMS side you have Jorja Coleman leading the Stafford EMTs, Misty Blakeslee leading St. John, and Gregg Maseberg with the lead for Macksville. Then there’s St. John Police Chief Adam Sayler, Macksville Police Chief Troy Wright, and Stafford Police Chief Doug Brown who performs every emergency role ever invented.
And let us not forget the three administrative officers who have to put up with me more than any of the others. These three – Misty Blakeslee, Nick Lauffer and Davin Graves – they accomplish so much behind the scenes.
And one of my favorites that does a bit of everything – the little energizer bunny named Brenda.
And this doesn’t even include the greats during my career in Salina and Leavenworth, nor our incredible partners at the hospital and the dispatch room – it’s a list that could go on and on. Surely, I’m lucky.
When you have parents who work so that you can eat, stay warm, and get an education – it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed – that’s the finest I know.
I explained several weeks ago to a group gathered at the court house that my job as the Stafford County Emergency Service Director could be explained with the last word in my title – Director.
“I was just the Orchestra Director – folks. It was just directing. I was just the Director – sometimes you are blessed with great musicians, sometimes you aren’t. I was blessed. But, I was just the Orchestra Director.”
So, I close in saying that I might have been given a little bad break, but I’ve made a lot of friends, friends for a lifetime. We’ve accomplished so much together and the memories we made – well, they will last a life time.
In the modified words of another great – “I’m so glad we had this time together, just to operate and improve a Fire, EMS, and EM department, to respond to emergency requests, or have a laugh or sing a song, seems we just got started and before you know it comes the time we have to say…..so long.”
“My God Protect You – As You Protect Others”
*Thank you to EVERYONE for the send off at the County Annex – especially Misty & Davin. Misty choreographed the event and Davin put together all the videos. The love you all have shown to me and my wife could never be topped. And, experiencing that love is truly the highlight of my career.