JRo lived his life for firefighting! He has been called a firefighter’s firefighter by all who knew him. He had a reputation of being a firefighter first.
As his father, I knew this to be true. He had a goodness to him. He was a good father to his daughter, Kaylee. He was a good son to his mother, Barbara, and to me, his father, Bill.
The number of friends we met at his memorial was truly overwhelming. I spoke at his memorial. Standing at the podium, I looked at the attendees–in the midst of COVID-19, over 500 firefighters, first responders, and police officers. His chief said if there was no COVID, there would have been over 1,000 in attendance.
I stood and looked at as many faces as I could. Some I knew, others I just met but remembered my son speaking about. As I stood there, silently looking at a sea of firefighters, I thought how loved, respected, and missed my son was.
JRo was a son, father, true friend, and teacher, not only at the training academy but also on the job. He was a jokester; the stories of JRo will be told for a very long time. JRo had faults, as we all do, but what stands out is the man my son was.
In the 50 years my son lived, 34 of them involved firefighting. Justin “JRo” Robinson held his firefighting profession high and loved, loved, loved being a firefighter. His love propelled him into the firefighting profession just like a hand into a glove. A gloved hand reaching out to serve, to save. Twice, he helped bring new life into this world. The hand was his love, the glove was the firefighting profession and training that comes with that profession.
The highest honor I can pay my son is to share his last words. His last call was a car accident. He pulled on the scene, moved fast, pulled the Jaws of Life, and started to open the passenger’s door. The EMT entered the vehicle, and JRo moved to the driver’s door. He started to open it and yelled out, “I’m stuck!” Two EMTs behind him laid him down. A brother firefighter picked up the Jaws to open the door. My son‘s last words were, “I’m cutting the door.” With those words, he finished his last call.
To his last breath, he remained a firefighter with no interest in himself or anything else. JRo’s last thoughts were about being a firefighter. His love for firefighting is shown in what he said. The hand propelled by love, fitting into the glove, fulfilling the profession of firefighting.
JRo fulfilled what he loved the most with what he respected the most. He was a firefighter’s firefighter to the end.
P.S. The passenger in the car lived. Not bad!