James O’Shea was a member of FDNY Ladder Company 127 when he died unexpectedly on September 27‚ 2003. He was a second-generation fireman and loved his job‚ especially the camaraderie of his fellow firefighters. He was a senior man and looked forward to another 20 years on the job‚ ‘God willing’.
Jimmy was a great bear of a man whose strength and size earned him the title of the human forcible entry tool. He had a reputation for his gruff exterior and his forthright expression of his opinions. You always knew where you stood with Jimmy O’Shea. It was not easy to get to know the real Jimmy‚ but those who had the patience and fortitude to do so found that he had a heart of gold. When it came to the fighting fires he demanded the highest of standards from himself and expected nothing less from his fellow firefighters. He always strove to be better and to find ways to do the job better. Jimmy was always willing to share his knowledge and skill and despite his grizzly bear attitude‚ he maintained a devilish sense of humor.
Jimmy had almost completed 18 years with the FDNY. He served almost as many years as a volunteer firefighter. He served with the Brentwood Volunteer Fire Department‚ the East Brentwood Volunteer Fire Department and a brief period with the Lakeland Fire Department. He was a former International Fireman of the Year and won Firehouse magazine’s 1986 heroism award.
Despite the reputation that Jimmy preferred to portray‚ he was an intelligent and caring man. He was well read. He enjoyed a love of American history‚ especially military history. He had a varied taste in music from Van Halen to Sinatra. He could sing all of the songs to the Disney classics and many show tunes as well. He even read Shakespeare. One of his most favorite speeches is from Henry V. He was a devoted father. If asked‚ Jimmy would have said that the greatest accomplishments in his life were his two sons.
Jimmy is sadly missed by those who knew and loved him. His wife‚ Yetta and two sons‚ Jacob and Matthew‚ survive him.
Gary Lee ‘Deuce’ Staley was born June 16‚ 1969‚ in Atlanta‚ Georgia. His family moved to Texas when he was 10 years old. Gary found a love for soccer and broke several bones in giving his whole self to the sport. He graduated from high school and began work in the oil industry. Gary married Stephanie Guillot in 1993 and Courtney was born a year later. She was certainly the apple of his eye. Although their marriage ended in divorce‚ they remained friends and shared a love for their daughter.
Gary decided one day that he was going to be a firefighter and it became his greatest passion. He was Rookie of the Year his first year and became a member of the 250 club by responding to 306 fire calls. Even though he was employed as an accountant for Anadarko Petroleum Company‚ his dedication was to firefighting. Evenings and on his days off he was a regular at the fire station.
On January 19‚ 2003‚ the fire call came in for an antique car showroom and he bolted out the door. He always tried to be one of the first on the truck. Four young men were sent into the flaming building‚ but only three came out. One of the fireman’s gloves caught on fire and he had to get out quickly. The building was totally full of smoke and flames with no vision possible. While crawling out of the building‚ one of the fireman ran into a building support pole dislodging his helmet and blocking his air supply. He was in serious trouble. Gary was close to him and helped him get the helmet secured and pointed him toward the door. While Gary was assisting the second fireman‚ the third one followed the hose line to safety. He told all outside that everyone must be out because no one was on the hose line. What he didn’t know was that Gary had not seen him come out and thought he was still in the building. Gary had returned to the hose line to look for him. At that moment a race car in the showroom filled with nitrous oxide exploded – taking Gary’s life.
In memory of Gary‚ a scholarship fund to train firefighters was established in 2003. Currently‚ there are five firefighters enrolled in the fire academy in Gary Staley scholarships.
Gary died serving the community that he loved as a volunteer firefighters and will always be remembered for this heroism and sacrifice.
Barry Lutsy was a 45-year-old loving and dedicated husband‚ dad‚ son‚ brother and true friend. He loved serving the community and helping others. Barry was called home on August 13‚ 2003‚ after being struck by a firetruck after returning to the station.
Barry joined Racine Volunteer Fire Department in Racine‚ West Virginia in 1975. He further served the community by becoming an EMT and winning EMT of the year in 1978.
In May 2003 he brought his sons‚ Jeremy and Justin into the Racine Volunteer Fire Department who like their father have proven to be dedicated to the department and community.
Barry wore two kinds of hats‚ a fireman’s hat and a coal miner’s hat. He was employed as a coal miner for Eastern Coal Company‚ Harris Division and was a member of the UMWA. Barry was also a member of the Church of God for 16 years. He always saw the best in people and tried to keep a positive attitude about things.
He was a well rounded family man. He was dedicated and loving to his wife Debra‚ for 24 years‚ oldest son Jeremy and his wife Rachael‚ his youngest son Justin‚ his mother‚ father‚ brother and sister. Barry considered Jeremy and Justin as his world and he couldn’t have been more proud to see his sons following in his foot steps. Barry was well known for his sense of humor. He was the type of person who could touch you and smile by just walking into the room.
Proving his dedication and love for the fire department‚ Barry once stayed one week at the station due to a snow storm so none of the other firefighters had to risk responding to a call and that proves how Barry always thought of others.
Barry will always be remembered and remain in our hearts.
My beloved husband‚ Bobby‚ joined the Gwinnett County Fire Department in 1988. Before joining this department‚ he was a Firefighter/EMT and Driver/Engineer with the City of Rome Fire Department for 12 years. Coming to the Gwinnett Department‚ which is a much larger fire department than Rome‚ was a commitment on Bobby’s part towards a better life for both of us and a chance to be closer to our family. This was to be a challenge for him‚ as although he had a perfect record as a firefighter with the Rome Department‚ he had to begin as any other Rookie when he was hired for Gwinnett. Although he was older than the other Rookies‚ he kept up with them in all the training and physical tests that had to be passed in order to become a Firefighter with the Gwinnett Fire Department. I remember him pushing himself daily to get ready for the physical fitness part of the test. He simply would not be defeated. He was presented with the Rookie Firefighter of the Year Award for the Gwinnett County Fire Department in 1989.
Bobby’s commitment to his profession as a Firefighter/EMT was second to none. He always gave his very best to anyone who needed help of any kind. He would never think of missing a day of work and received many perfect attendance awards‚ to which he told me‚ ‘It’s just the right thing to do.’ Many of his fellow firefighters‚ both in Rome and in Gwinnett County‚ have expressed to me what a great leader‚ supporter‚ listener and friend Bobby was to them. While with the Gwinnett Department he received eight Letters of Commendation from the Fire Chief‚ Deputy Chief‚ Captain and County Administrator. He also received several Unit Citation Awards. Bobby was an incredibly private person about his work and never mentioned these honors to me or his family and friends.
Bobby was a Lieutenant with the Gwinnett Fire Department‚ when on April 14‚ 2003‚ at age 54‚ while fighting a terrible fire in a motorcycle shop‚ he suffered a heart attack brought on by extreme stress. The fire was ruled arson and Bobby’s death was listed as a homicide. At this date‚ the case continues to be under investigation.
On April 13‚ 2004‚ my life was changed forever. To say that I was married to a wonderful and brilliant man for 33 years is a mere hint of the man Bobby Patrick was. He absolutely never thought of himself. He was constantly looking to see how he could help others. I was always amazed at his ability to do anything. He was a builder of custom homes and owner of B P Builders‚ Inc. His other talents included teacher‚ designer and builder of furniture‚ Building Inspector for Floyd County‚ GA‚ horseshoer…and my list could go on without end. I can honestly never remember a time in 33 years of marriage that we had to ask anyone’s help to do anything. If Bobby didn’t know how to do something he would figure it out! He was a problem solver in the highest sense of those words. He held a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Arts and Biology and taught Industrial Arts at the senior high school level before becoming a Firefighter.
Bobby was the most amazing husband and friend anyone could ever hope to have. He continues to be loved by his wife‚ family‚ friends‚ coworkers and many people in his community who sent loving cards and letters telling me how he had helped them at some critical time in their life.
A Memorial Scholarship Fund is in progress of being established at Berry College in Rome‚ Georgia to honor Bobby’s commitment to Excellence in Work Ethics to deserving students.
God has blessed me richly for having Bobby Patrick for my husband and best friend since we met in college‚ and I will continue to be blessed by looking for the qualities he expressed such as integrity‚ hard work‚ perseverance‚ commitment‚ humility‚ generosity‚ compassion and love for others‚ as I go about each day in our world. Bobby‚ my love and respect for you is eternal.
Mike Stanley was what many rural mid-Missourians would call a ‘good ole hometown boy.’ He was born‚ raised and lived his entire life in Salisbury‚ Missouri. He graduated from Salisbury High School in 1968 and was then drafted into the United States Army. Mike served in the 5th Infantry as an E-4 in the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged in 1971. He was employed by the City of Salisbury as Park Supervisor and served as a Volunteer Fireman for the Salisbury Fire Department for nine years. He received his Firefighter I & II certification in 1997 from the Missouri Department of Public Safety Division of Fire. That same year‚ he completed more Firefighter I & II training and received the University of Missouri-Columbia Vice-Provost’s Certificate from the Fire & Rescue Training Institute and the University of Missouri-Columbia Extension Division.
Everyone that met Mike liked him and there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for anyone. He never complained about hard work and often said a little sweat never hurt anyone. Besides going to work every day‚ he always helped get daily household chores done like finishing up a load laundry or doing the breakfast dishes. On weekends‚ Mike usually found time to relax and do the things he enjoyed doing‚ but not without checking to see if there was a job anyone else needed help with first. Whether he was working or out with his family and friends‚ he always had a good time and made the best of any situation which caused those around him to do the same.
Mike took pride in everything he did and had in life. He lived by the standard ‘Don’t just half do anything and you might as well do a good job if you’re gonna do it.’ He loved the outdoors and in the summer would spend most of his time doing yardwork or just piddling with stuff in his shed. His biggest pride by far though was his family. He and his wife‚ Jaleta‚ were married for twenty-seven years and have one daughter‚ Jennifer.
Mike passed away on March 15‚ 2003‚ while responding to a grass fire. He is survived by his wife‚ daughter‚ parents‚ a sister and several aunts‚ uncles‚ cousins‚ nieces‚ nephews and in-laws.
Carl Mack was born in 1934 in Milwaukee‚ Wisconsin. He was raised most of his life by a single mother after losing his father at a young age to a blood disease. Carl went to Milwaukee Boy’s Tech in search of an apprenticeship as a plumber. Shortly thereafter Carl became employed with the Grunau Company Inc.‚ and worked for them for 43 years. Carl was very much a union man and was a member of Plumber’s Local 75 for 49 years. He was known to many of his plumbing buddies as the ‘Polish Plumber’ or the ‘Polack’.
Carl was a truly devoted husband to Ruth A. Mack (Rewolinski) for 46 years. Carl had four children‚ Diane‚ Sam (Carol)‚ Andy (Lynn) and Lisa (Jon Hanson). Carl had four grandchildren‚ Amanda‚ Bryan‚ Amy Mack and Morgan Hanson. Our dad taught us not only to respect other people but to respect ourselves and to take pride in who we are. Our dad always voiced his opinion on what he believed in. He only expected us to try our best when we did something and encouraged us to learn how to do it and do it the right way. Dad‚ you were truly the backbone of our family and could always make things okay when they were going wrong. You gave of your time freely and generously to teach us how to be good and down to earth people. We respect you for who you were and will never forget you for what you instilled in us.
To know Carl was to love him as he always had a smile; he always waved to anyone whether he knew them or not. As his wife‚ I still have people come up to me and say‚ ‘I miss that big red truck and the wave we always exchanged when he would go by.’
We planned on retiring for many years‚ then in 1995 Carl did and we searched for the right area. We’ve visited in Grand Marsh for over 18 years until we found some property. We built a house on then 20 acres. Carl spent many hours making it our home. His favorite was his shop. After two years of putting up decks‚ building additions and completing projects‚ Carl was finally able to sit back and putter in his shop every day from sunrise to sunset. In 2001‚ our son and his wife found an Amish buggy‚ which Carl wanted for so long. It needed lots of TLC and Carl sure did that. By the summer of 2002‚ it was completed and he was surely proud. He even pondered about renting a horse to give his five year old granddaughter and the other grandchildren a ride.
In early 2002‚ Carl found out he had a heart problem‚ but that never stopped him. When consulting with the doctors‚ he frequently asked if he could stay on with the fire department‚ his next love after our family. New Chester kept him on to run pumpers and drive trucks‚ with the doctor’s approval. I was told that coming from a ‘big’ city‚ to a small community‚ he taught the guys ‘a few’ things. Carl was very ‘outspoken.’ He loved Fire Prevention Week with the kids. He showed them the trucks and then would deliver his speech. He enjoyed it so much‚ and many of the kids looked forward to seeing him the next year.
As his wife‚ I couldn’t find another ‘Mr. Nice Guy.’ He and I go back as friends since our mid-teens. I learned so much from him – plumbing‚ electrical‚ house building‚ and mostly fishing (oh how I miss that!). I especially miss our daily card games. Every morning after breakfast we would play cards‚ bird watch and observe the deer and turkeys in our front yard from our kitchen window. Carl was a mentor to our children‚ they learned so much from him. Both boys went on to become volunteer firefighters and the girls would always count on Dad when they needed help with major house repairs or simply how to barbecue on the grill.
Carl was always ready to help anyone. After being a plumber since 1954‚ he could repair almost anything from tractors to sharpening knives. He would help me can‚ bake and anything else that was asked of him.
Part of my life went when he went on his last call. Please remember to say ‘good-bye’ when that call comes in‚ because my biggest regret is that I never said ‘good-bye’ on April 22‚ 2003. God sure got a great man when He took Carl to Heaven to join ‘His department.’
The fire department did a great job on saying their farewells and the family and I will always be part of the fire department’s family. Thanks for being there firefighters and Carl‚ thank you for letting me be your wife‚ we are so proud of you.
Carl died while on the scene of a house fire on April 22‚ 2003. His heart finally gave out. Carl was a volunteer firefighter for 41 years. He previously served on the Muskego Volunteer Fire Company for 34 years‚ and was President of the same for 25 years. Carl was greatly devoted to the fire service and to the community. He was always giving of his time whether it was teaching a new member how to run a truck‚ going to meetings several time a week‚ or simply giving a child a tour of the fire station. Carl never expected anything in return for all the hours he ‘donated’ as a volunteer‚ and he eventually gave the ultimate sacrifice for what he enjoyed doing.
Carl Mack made an impression on everyone who met him. He was a very strong willed man who‚ when he died‚ left a void in many people’s lives.
Craig Mackey was my true soul mate. His family was his pride and joy. I was blessed with over 31 years with this wonderful man.
He died October 14‚ 2003‚ in a tragic helicopter accident. Both the pilot and Craig lost their lives. He was on a mission to map new water holes for firefighting purposes. Craig began his career with the Oregon Department of Forestry in 1974. He was a Forest Protection Supervisor‚ a firefighter his entire career. Craig was also involved with aviation and held the position of Air Attack. He was also qualified as Air Operations Branch Director.
Craig was a fire investigator‚ also a Training and Prevention officer for Western Lane District. He was responsible for training hundreds of structural firefighters‚ wildland firefighters‚ employees from Federal agencies and the Oregon Department of Forestry. A very skilled craftsman‚ Craig could build or fix anything. We had just built our dream home.
He enjoyed the outdoors‚ working on our tree farm‚ motorcycles and music. Baseball was his passion. He coached teams for several years as his sons grew up. Craig will always be remembered as a devoted family man to his wife‚ four children and one grandchild. His work ethic‚ sense of humor and his wonderful engaging smile will live on forever.
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