Category Archives: Obituaries

Death, Taxes and the Brotherhood

Depew Hook & Ladder Co PatchDear Tiger:

I enjoyed meeting you this morning at Depew’s day drill. I belong to the Depew Fire Department’s Hook & Ladder Co. 1. I am proudly a “Hook” with a Maltese Cross tattoo to prove it too. (Once a Hook, Always a Hook!)

I want to tell you this one story:

My proudest moment in the department came nearly two years ago, February 2011, at my Mom’s wake.

My Mom was a fireman’s wife. My Dad, Vince, died as a life member of the Winchester Volunteer Fire Co. many years ago. Mom was just weeks shy of her 89th birthday. We held the wake at Hoy’s Funeral Home in West Seneca. Read more of this post

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The most important stories of all

6255977082_80989e7d2a_bTwo years ago, 2011 was my first year on the social media staff for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and, being my first time attending the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service, I said afterwards that I was glad I was so caught up in the technology that I didn’t get caught up in all the emotion of it.

Last year, I wasn’t so lucky. I was tasked with interviewing and capturing the stories of the survivors about their firefighters.

Our goal was to capture 60-90 seconds of video for sharing via the Foundation’s various social media channels. Invariably, even if I talked to a particular survivor for 10 to 15 minutes, it wasn’t until the end or when I asked if they had anything else they’d like to share, if they had anything else they wanted people to know about their loved one — that the real gemstones of insight came out. Read more of this post

Tremendous loss of a talented storyteller

Firefighter, Journalist Hal Bruno

Today, as we mourn the loss of fire service and journalistic leader Hal Bruno, it’s important to remember what an important part he was of our fire service, our communities and our world.

His depiction of the 1958 Our Lady of the Angels School fire that claimed 95 innocent lives is a classic example of his impact on our industry and the news world.

Rest in peace fine sir. You will be sorely missed but your contributions live on.

Help Out this Run-to-the-Curb Kid

Chiefs and Run-to-the-Curb Kids: Jimmy and Tommy Hook

We’ll share the rest of the story about 11-year old Tommy Hook soon but all you need to know for now is that his Dad, Deputy Chief Jimmy Hook of the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department died last week after a brief illness at age 42.

The good folks at HVFD are doing the right thing by him and making sure that Tommy has the financial support to go on to be a great kid after the loss of his dad — and to follow in his father’s footsteps as a great adult and maybe even a firefighter some day too.

I only met Jimmy and Tommy once, and just a few weeks ago during my visit to Hyattsville, but as you can see from this photo I snapped by chance right before they left the firehouse — both of them left an impression on me.

Here’s the link to the education fund that’s been set up for Tommy Hook. I hope you’ll consider helping them take care of this great Run-to-the-Curb kid: http://www.hvfd.com/hvfd/content/view/304/2/

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Mourning the Loss of a Run-to-the-Curb Kid

I didn’t know Chief Auch personally but I am certainly aware of his dedication to his city, the fire service and the instructors’ conference his city has hosted for so long. The following is provided and reprinted courtesy of my good friend Chief Bobby Halton. We share in their loss as we honor Steve’s story:

We Mourn the Loss

Indianapolis Battalion Chief Steven F. Auch, age 56

The staff of the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) is sad to report the passing of Battalion Chief Steven F. Auch, age 56, of the Indianapolis (IN) Fire Department (IFD).

Steve was appointed to the IFD in 1978, and his assignments included Station 21, Engine 12, and Engine 11. In 1986, he was promoted to lieutenant. He served in Rescue 19, Rescue 2, Battalion 2 aide, and EMS duty officer until his promotion to captain in 1999. He served on Medic Squad 10, Engine 11, and as chief of EMS. In 2003, Steve was promoted to battalion chief. He has been Battalion Chief 11 A since 2007.

Steve was married to his beloved wife Donna Auch for 12 1/2 years. He was an extraordinary “father” to her three children, Brad, Laura, and Heather. He always asked his grandchildren, “Who’s a genius?” to which they would reply, “Pop-Pop Steve” and give him the thumbs up. When they heard he died, one of his grandchildren said, “God must have needed a genius.” Read more of this post