Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Friend

Today, I helped bury a friend. Chief Herb Faurote, of a neighboring department, died this week and his funeral was held today. This is the lot across the road from the funeral parlor, with some of the apparatus visible which were there to honor him.

This is the procession of chief's cars heading to the cemetery.All of the apparatus were behind me in this picture.

This is the cemetery itself.
Herb had been chief since dirt was young, or so it seemed, and as I spent time in the fire service, he was one of those people who was always there. In all of our work with his department, it was obvious that he put all that he had into the fire service and into his department. He will be missed by just about everyone who knew him.

I was also again struck by just how much of a brotherhood the fire service really is. Gathered here were 25 or more departments from all over the county as well as representatives from the NYS OFPC (State Office of Fire Prevention and Control), all gathered to say good-bye to one of our own. It is something that is difficult to explain to an "outsider" but really and truly does exist, a real bond of brotherhood that has to be seen and felt to be truly appreciated. I overheard a family member or friend commenting on how they were touched by the number of firefighters there and the respect that they showed to Herb. I didn't interrupt their conversation; it wasn't my place to do that. But I was answering her in my own mind: "Ma'am, you have to understand. Herb was one of us. He was a brother to each and every person that you see here in the uniform of a firefighter, even those who are too young or too new, or from so far away that they have never even met him. He had "been there, done that" with us. He had fought the dragon of uncontrolled fire that we all are pledged to fight, and usually had won the fight. But he had also tasted the defeats that we all have experienced, shared the hurt and pain, both the physical injuries and the deeper hurts that never quite heal completely that also come with the job. He was a firefighter, Ma'am and that is why we all are here for him today."

Rest in peace, Herb, you've earned it.

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