Guy thought it may help if I post this story.
This is a long shot…
I am a Battalion Chief in the fire service on the west coast. I sit here tonight having gone through an extremely difficult year and a half. In fact, it has been a difficult 23 years. I have watched four of my brother’s fall as they served their community. Two of my true friends, outstanding leader’s in our community, Russ Locatelli and Johnny Carmesin, left our department under circumstances that were not predictable. Unfortunately, the stress of the job exacerbated a cardiac condition in Russ and Johnny was shot (yes shot) on the job. Bottom line….Russ needs a heart transplant and Johnny needs a break. Both of them have beautiful families that have suffered more than anyone should. Don’t get me wrong, they are not living in a bed of death, they choose to live life with the cards they have been dealt. Both of these outstanding men are avid outdoorsmen and conservationists. Each of them have families that should be commended for standing strong during adversity.
Russ joined the fire service as a volunteer firefighter around 1990, Johnny joined in 1977. Both of them have a combined service to country and community of over 40 years. I was there when Johnny was shot while on duty, he was down on the ground fighting for his life as was another friend of ours. I won’t forget the day when we loaded Russ into the plane for medical care, not knowing if we would ever see him again. Both of those days haunt me every day of my life. Not many people can understand the feeling of seeing two men who have given so much to their community fall in the line of duty.
Here is my issue…
Both Russ and Johnny have never received a proper retirement or separation. Russ retired as a Battalion Chief and Johnny an Engineer that was getting ready to promote to an Assistant Chief. There are numerous issues that prevented both from receiving a proper thank you and good bye. The primary reason is time. Both cases were drug out for so long that each got lost in time. Normally we would give them a proper send off to show our appreciation but in these cases, we didn’t.
I am sitting home alone tonight thinking about both of these outstanding men, men who are avid outdoorsmen, outstanding friends, phenomenal fathers, and incomparable leaders. I need to do something to thank them. We have talked and talked and talked about doing something to repay them and show our appreciation for their service but it has always stopped at the talking. I want to stop talking and act.
I am asking you for guidance. Here is what I need….
I want to give these fine men the proper gift of appreciation….the hunt of a lifetime. Together!
I will trade, beg, borrow, and save to make this happen. I am not looking for a hand me down. I have saved $2000 of my own money to do something special for them. Something like an awesome hunt. Here is what I ask of you….
Can you please give me guidance in a way to make this plan come to fruition? Do you know of someone or somewhere that can help me make this happen? I see shows on TV that help our beloved wounded soldiers. There has to be something that helps our beloved wounded firefighters. There can’t be many men that deserve it more than Russ and Johnny. I ask for your help. I am thinking of some sort of adventure that puts these two great men in their element, hunting large game or ducks. Something that brings them together and gives them the thanks they deserve.
I thank you for your help.