On the night of February 5, 2015, my husband, Garry Rose, was doing what he loved, helping someone in need. He answered an emergency call, transported the patient to the hospital, and while completing his paperwork at the desk, he unexpectedly collapsed and died of sudden cardiac arrest at the age of 67. When someone you love is taken in this manner, there is the initial shock, then regrets and “what ifs.” After the shock, you realize he died doing what he loved. That night changed my life, my family, the fire department, and our community.
Members have stated that mornings at the firehouse are a little quieter and different, for he was a constant fixture there every morning. While others drank coffee, he went to the “Coke” machine to get a Pepsi. Yes, Pepsi. He loved his Pepsi. When members were down and upset, he would say to them, “Come give Daddy a hug.” in hopes to cheer them up. He was respected as a father figure and friend.
Garry was a 38-year member of the fire department, where he served as a lieutenant, safety officer, trustee, advisor, and a member of Project Life Saver, Search and Rescue. During his career of public service, he earned numerous “Star of Life” Awards and was a member of the first squad to receive the Stork Award. Due to his longtime commitment to the public, the department has honored his dedication with the annual Garry Rose Award, which recognizes the individual that exemplifies the hard work and dedication that he embodied during his career of service.
Besides volunteering at the fire department, he served three consecutive terms on City Council, Recreation Committee, and coached Little League softball. He also gave his time to the local soup kitchen, Special Olympics, and was an important advocate for the Miracle League of the Ohio Valley. He treasured his work with the Miracle League. He helped raise awareness and support for these little HEROES with disabilities.
On significant dates and holidays we have and will continue with our family traditions, because with these traditions come wonderful memories!!
After being with my husband for 45 years, every day I learn how to live without him. Every death is different and affects everyone differently. No one can tell you how or when to stop grieving. I will never be the person I was before February 5, for I am no longer whole. My better half is gone.
Garry is also survived by daughters Denise (Dave) Wheeler and Lisa (Chad) Gast; and five grandsons, Ethan and Logan Wheeler, and Broc, Heath, and Zane Gast (his basketball team).