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National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Year of Death: 1984

Robert M. Reyes

Submitted by his Wife

Although Robert only served for a few years‚ he totally enjoyed what he did. It’s been 23 years since his death yet every year on his anniversary that day creeps back into my mind although I don’t cry every day like I use to. Still on that day every year it is like it was that morning.

Robert was a wonderful husband‚ father‚ son‚ grandson‚ brother‚ brother-in-law‚ uncle‚ co-worker and friend. He was the younger of 2 brothers and older brother to his 2 sisters.

Before going to work for the Houston Fire Department (HFD) he attended Reagan H.S. where he was the Drum Major during his senior year. After graduating high school he went to work for the FBI. When we met it was love at first site. After 10 yrs with the FBI he decided he wanted to finish college and saw that the Fire Dept offered him an opportunity to do just that and still earn an income for his family.

At the time of his death he left behind his most precious joy. His 6 year old son who worshiped his father and his 18 month old daughter who would never remember him except for what she saw in pictures and what people would tell her about him. Robert was a very patient‚ caring‚ kind‚ laid back‚ happy man. He loved his parents‚ siblings‚ wife‚ children and friends. Any one who knew him has nothing but good to say about him.

It was a warm Saturday morning that December 1st in 1984. He left for work early like always. It wasn’t until about 10 a.m. that my brother‚ who also works for HFD and was on the same shift and district as Robert‚ called looking for him. I thought it sort of strange that he would be looking for him. So I called his station to see what he was doing just like I always did when he was at work. When I asked for him the voice on the other end could hardly constrain himself as he asked me to hold on. After a few moments he came back and I could hear him trying to hold back his sobs as he told me that Rob had had an accident and they had taken him code red (I think) to the hospital for me to hurry and get there. I lived very far from the medical center and I was in shock to what they were telling me. I called my brother back and yelled ‘what is a code red’ ‘they say they have taken him to the hospital code red! What does that mean?!’ I heard my brother turn to his Captain and said ‘Captain I have to go get my sister – that was my brother-in-law’.

Hysterical and not knowing what was going on nor able to get to him instantly‚ I called his brother to prepare his parents and siblings for the worst. I waited for my brother to come and get me. I was too afraid to drive myself and didn’t even think of asking a neighbor to drive me. I wasn’t even thinking I just wanted to get there. As I arrived at the hospital approximately 1 hour later‚ I saw all the media and the fire department standing there‚ some sobbing. Horror set in. I refused to read the writing on the wall. My heart was hopeful but my head was telling me the worst. As I went in and kept asking about him all they would say was that they needed for me to come to the family room. I could hear his mother’s hysterical cries asking to see her son and they told them they had to wait for me. I knew then that the worst had happened. When they told us that he was deceased his mother fell to the floor unconscious and I slumped into my brother’s arm for comfort. My heart felt torn out. All I could see was a huge black wall in front of me. I wished I had died along with him at that moment. But then who would care for our children? I had to be strong when I came home to tell our son that his father was deceased‚ but he sort of already sensed it. To this day that day has forever affected him. He misses his father. Our daughter was very young but even now it affects her. She wishes she could remember him.

On the day of his funeral the weather changed and it got very cold and rained. His fellow firefighters accompanied his coffin braving the weather. They all shed tears for this kind man. He never won any great awards aside from those in school‚ but he did win the friendship and respect of all those he came in contact with. Being that he was the first brother-in-law to my siblings they all looked up to him‚ admired him and respected him. His death that day came as a horrible blow to us‚ his family members.

Three years later his mother joined him suffering from a mother’s broken heart. She missed him terribly. He will forever be remembered. His funeral was everything he deserved and more. The fire dept. put on a wonderful display of their unity and loss. I am forever grateful for their show of love for their brother firefighter.

Later I learned that he had fallen from a moving fire truck and struck his head on the pavement causing him to have massive head injuries. The paramedics that were at his side in an instant said they got a pulse and lost it right away and he never regained consciousness.

To this day my heart sill breaks at the thought of what he thought in his last moment. I know he is with God looking down at us and still taking care of us. He was one of God’s greatest creations. There is no other like him.

This firefighter line of duty fatality occurred before the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial was built in Emmitsburg, Maryland. While this firefighter has not been officially honored at the Memorial site, there are plans to do so when resources are available.

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  1. Even in death you have taken care of us. We will never forget you. You will always be loved until we are all together.

    – Robert's Wife Marilyn
  2. Bobby I have never met you,but my father your cousin Paul told stories about you.I was born four years after your death & following your foot steps.I also seen a photo of you before,someday I will see you soon your 2nd cousin
    Xavier Rodriguez

    – Xavier
  3. We lived a couple of doors down from Robert and Marilyn. He was such a good man. He was excited that he had bought a special ring for Marilyn for Christmas. He often invited my daughter Sharon to watch Disney movies with he and Robert and eat popcorn. He will forever hold a special place in my heart. He touched many lives with his love and kindness.

    – Ann Thompson Crocker