Being a firefighter was not just a job for Rick; it was a calling that continued the family legacy of his father.
When Rick became FAO, he said he had the best job ever! He enjoyed constantly learning new fire safety techniques and training. Rick was on the regional HAZMAT team, confined spaces, original member of the technical rescue team, and SCBA fit test technician.
The fire chief said there is not a friendlier person in the fire house than Rick; he would give you the shirt off his back and was a pleasure to work with. Rick tried to do his best on every call he responded to; he took his FAO responsibilities very seriously.
Rick was a people person and made friends easily. He enjoyed trying to make someone’s day a little better. He enjoyed cooking, taking cooking classes, and sharing what he made with others. Rick enjoyed camping, sailing, and going to baseball games with family and friends. As a family we enjoyed traveling, spending time at our cabin, and going to the lake.
Everything changed for us when Rick was diagnosed with a rare blood disease, angioimmunoblastic T cell lymphoma. During the 11 months he fought this disease, he took advantage of opportunities to spend time with his family and brothers from the fire department. When he couldn’t go outside, he enjoyed playing the piano and watching movies and baseball games together, creating as many memories as he could while he still had time.
Rick fought. He fought for the opportunity to make more memories with his children. Through his treatment, he never complained or gave up hope. He fought with a smile until the end. Growing up, my dad was always our hero and our biggest fan when we played sports or any extra school activities. My dad was the best man I knew and my best friend growing up. No matter what we were doing—camping, watching movies, or cooking together—we always had the best time.
He sometimes doubted whether he was a good dad, but to us there was no question. He was the best dad we could ever ask for. He taught us to be kind, work hard, and have a caring heart. To me, that is the best thing a dad could teach his kids. He wanted us to go into the world and spread kindness, and we try to be just like him.
He had so much he wanted to do with his children—teach them, watch them fall in love, and welcome their spouses into the family. He won’t have that opportunity. That is why Rick’s name being added to this memorial means so much to our family. This is a place his children and future grandchildren can see that his sacrifices to serve his community mattered. Rick mattered and will never be forgotten.