Brian ‘Boo’ was 28 years old at his untimely death. He had recently been hired as a firefighter/paramedic‚ and it was his dream fulfilled. All the academies‚ training‚ testing‚ and part-time work were arduous‚ but he was so happy when Homewood Fire Department in Illinois hired him full-time. His career was just getting started when‚ on March 30‚ 2010‚ he answered a call at a house engulfed in flames. There was an elderly invalid inside who he tried to save‚ but a flashover occurred and both perished.
Brian was very young to die‚ but he did a lot of living in the short span we had him. He graduated from Loras College with a major in journalism in 2003. He immediately started on all the required schooling for EMT‚ paramedic‚ firefighting‚ and some advanced courses after that. He traveled quite a bit: Ireland (many times)‚ England‚ Greece‚ Poland‚ Holland‚ and Scotland. In fact‚ he was making plans for ten mini- trips in 2010. He was an avid reader and loved to debate on any subject. He was a runner and participated in many marathons. He was a White Sox fan‚ even witnessing Mark Buehrle’s perfect game. Music was a passion‚ too. Brian had many friends‚ as he was very outgoing. They miss his sense of humor and camaraderie; he always made each one feel like his best friend.
Brian received the Medal of Valor‚ State of Illinois Gold Badge Award‚ and numerous letters of recognition‚ including one from President Obama. He was honored at the IAFF ceremony in Colorado. The Dublin and Irish Fire Services in Ireland also honored him with a ceremony and statue when they heard of his story‚ because they knew how much he loved Ireland and his Irish heritage. His ultimate honor‚ though‚ is the training center in Homewood‚ Illinois‚ dedicated to and named after him. His name will forever be linked to saving lives through training.
After being hired in Homewood‚ Brian was able to concentrate on other matters. One of the first things he did was to become a volunteer at Lifesource Blood Bank‚ because he felt very fortunate to have such a good job and wanted to give back. He also did some work at a homeless shelter and in honor of his dog‚ Beatrice‚ at PAWS.
Our family is forever changed without Boo‚ but we go on in his memory because he loved life so much. He worked hard but also knew how to have a good time. We miss his smile‚ curly hair‚ and wonderful hugs every time he saw you. He left his mark on everyone he met. He was proud to be a Homewood Firefighter‚ and we are very‚ very proud he is our son.