Rich was a beloved husband, father, and son. His main goal in life was to care for others. He wasn’t sure what his career would be, but he loved being a firefighter.
Before the fire department, Rich had many jobs. He then fell in love with his high school sweetheart, Jill. Rich was introduced to being a firefighter by Jill’s father, Ed Gartland, who came from a long line of Cleveland firefighters. He listened to many stories Ed told. He grew to love the fire department and considered them family. Rich was known for being one of the best cooks in the Cleveland Fire Department. He taught many cadets how to cook and will be forever remembered for his many recipes.
Rich became a paramedic in 2011 and worked for Cleveland Clinic. He would joke with all the paramedics and took some of them under his wing. At first he taught his daughters about medicine, until they became nurses and began teaching him. Their favorite thing to do was to share stories and teach each other about new procedures during dinner.
Rich was a devoted husband to Jill and father to Amber and Ashley. He was a coach to many of his daughters’ sports teams. Of course, they picked the only sport he didn’t coach, which was volleyball. He not only cared for his family and community but for many animals as well. Rich even brought two stray dogs home from the firehouse to join the family.
Rich joined the fire department in February 1994. He was presented with many awards for lifesaving incidents. Some additional awards he received are the Florian Cross, the Whelen Everyday Champion presented by NASCAR Hall of Fame, and the Lifesaver Award. Rich was promoted to lieutenant a few months before he passed away. He quickly fell in love with the idea of teaching cadets to become firefighters. Unfortunately, he passed before being able to teach his first class.
Rich was a family man with a heart of gold. You would find him playing with his pets, grilling for his family, or playing music for a block party. Rich will be forever missed by many.