Have you ever had one of those weeks that there were so many great things that happened that you don’t really remember the things that went wrong?
This week as I was working on the house I ran into some plumbing issues. Issues that took 2 days, about $700, and a day the plumber didn’t show up. So I was pretty well frustrated with the whole mess. It felt like it was going to be one of those weeks where you just spin your wheels and nothing gets done.
After a particularly frustrating day, I had just got home when our friends, Dave and Karen Criner knocked on the door. Dave had ran in the annual Air Force Marathon in my honor a couple of weeks ago and said he had the photos from the race for me. Angelina loaded the disk into the computer and we watched the slideshow as Dave explained what each one was. As we were finishing, he said he had something else. He brought in a bag and pulled out the hat that he had worn during the race. I thought that was very nice and told him so, and told him he didn’t need to give it to me. His wife, Karen just kept saying, “try and stop him.” Then he pulled out the shirt he wore in the race that said he was running in my honor. I told him that was way too nice, and he really, really didn’t need to give it to me. Next was the t-shirt that he received as a participant in the marathon. “Dave”, I said, “you don’t have to give me these things. You earned them and you need to keep them.” He insisted. Then he brought out the best of all. He pulled out a shadow box frame that had his participation medal, the AF Marathon emblem, a plaque with his name, run time and the words – “Frank Cervone – My Hero”. I was speechless; Susan had tears running down her face. My friend had run 13 grueling miles in less than three hours, in my honor and now was giving me his mementos of this day. I was deeply touched. I know how hard that was for him. The pain he endured. Yet he said he ran it for me and these items were for me. As I have said so many times before, I have the absolute best friends in the world!
Yesterday was the open house I sponsored for the Fire and Police Departments. We wanted the community to come out to see what these departments do so they would be more informed when they voted on the levies in November, but also to start awareness for Fire Prevention Week. I had thought of this idea about a month ago and blurted out during a council meeting that I wanted to have a meet and greet and I would supply the hamburgers and hot dogs. Surprise! Susan said she holds her breath when I start talking these days because she can never anticipate what I may come up with. Once the City Manager gave the go ahead, Carl Day, our Fire Marshall took the reins and in no time at all, my idea started taking shape.
Carl’s wife Rhonda had shopped for prices for the food and gave me an expected cost. I, being the optimist I am, asked her to get more than she had planned. She replied with a “hope you like hot dogs and frozen burgers.” She was then so very nice enough to actually go and purchase the food items for me. We bought the hot dogs, hamburgers, bottled water and individual snack size packages of pretzels.
The weather was beautiful. It was a bright sunny day with temperatures in the low eighties. When I arrived, the first thing I saw was two wrecked vehicles sitting in the driveway in front of the fire station. They were to be used for extrication demonstrations later in the day. They were testing a small fire apparatus that they would use for fire extinguisher training. Care flight was scheduled to make an appearance. The police department bought out a couple of cruisers and the SWAT vehicle and full equipment. The Quint fire engine was there as well as a couple of ambulances. They were all open and ready for everyone to take a look and experience the feel of the equipment.
This is the newest of the stations and has state of the art equipment. They had opened it, including the living quarters to the public. They had even prepared the smoke tower for anyone interested in seeing what it would be like to navigate a smoke-filled stairwell.
Everyone was scurrying around completing the tasks there were assigned. Our friends, Frank and Connie were there. Frank, remember from my prior posts is the cook-out King and immediately took charge of the grill. Before the day was over, he would have grilled 80 hamburgers and 90 hot dogs with Carl’s assistance.
One o’clock rolled around and a few people started trickling in. Slow at first. I was worried that the event would not be as big as I had anticipated, but within a few minutes, those fears were gone. As I walked around, greeting my “guests”, Ryan Rushing was by my side, camera in hand. I have found that this young man is always there, standing close to me anytime I am required to be up and about. As I watched the people interacting with our pubic safety employees, you feel the sense of community.
Both the Police and Fire Departments had hats for the kids and I saw Susan, Connie and Tonya, the Administrative Assistant to the Police Chief making sure everyone was duly equipped with a hat from each department. The fire department had safety coloring books and the police department had an honorary badge for everyone.
The afternoon proceeded with the first extrication that was very expertly explained by Dave Reichert, Battalion Chief. He explained every step of what the firefighters were doing from the saw that cut the windshield out like it was butter, to the “jaws of life” which cut through the support beams so they could peel the tops back like a jar of sardines. And right before everyone’s eyes, this sedan became a convertible!
Minutes after the demonstration was completed, Care Flight arrived right on time. It was very exciting to have the helicopter land and allow anyone wishing to take a closer look or ask questions about their jobs or equipment to do so. Next to the extrication demonstration was the police swat team. They had their armored vehicle there and it was full of boys and girls climbing through it and taking turns peeking out of the gunner’s roof opening. They had a display of firearms they use as well as the body armor needed to provide their safety. Occasionally you would hear the loud sound of the siren from the cruiser as curious children sat in the driver’s seat of the police cruisers and took their turns sounding the siren.
By the end of the day, everyone that attended had their questions answered, witnessed what is involved in both rescuing someone from their vehicle, saw the equipment first hand that SWAT wears, and had a delicious lunch. It was a very worthwhile day. I hope, after talking with the Chiefs, that this is something they will continue to do after my term is up. It is very important for the well-being and growth of a community to keep the lines of communication open between these professionals and the citizens.
I have to admit, I was very tired at the end of the open house. Susan and I left after helping to clean up a little and went home to take a well needed nap.
After a couple of hours of rest, Susan and I get ready for a night with the Rob, Melissa and Tom Peterangelo. We have trying to get our schedules together to have an evening together, but with my politics and Rob’s football and baseball coaching activities, and Tom’s work schedule, it was quite a chore. It wasn’t going to be a big thing, just a small get together with wine, snacks, good friends and cigars. I had brought some wine back from out trip toItalyin the spring and had taken that with us to share with our Italian friends. We sat out on their deck, drinking the wine, eating the wonderful foods Missy had prepared and just talking. Talking about everything, talking about nothing. We were just catching up on our lives, and fondly remembering my friend, my former doctor, Rob and Tom’s uncle, Dr. John Peterangelo.
It was a wonderful way to finish up the week. A week that I was once again reminded just how lucky I am. I almost forgot about the plumber and the leaking pipes. Well, tomorrow is another day.
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