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    2 Army Pilots Killed in Helicopter Crash in Afghanistan

    2 Army Pilots Killed in Helicopter Crash in Afghanistan

    The cost of freedom is so great and some pay more than the rest of us.  This week 2 more soldiers died in Afghanistan making this the deadliest year since 2014.  These apache pilots were providing security for ground troops during a night raid.  The rotary blade of their AH-64 Apache Attack helicopter clipped the edge of a mountain peak and crashed-destroying the helicopter.  Every single mission on every single deployment is a risk, it really brings home the point of how much these men and women are willing to sacrifice...along with their families.  We lost some really incredible people who were willing to give their lives for our country.  

    These two pilots were brave, loyal, intelligent, hardworking soldiers who will be greatly missed by those they served with.  However, their families will bear the brunt of the sacrifice moving forward.  

    David C Knadle was 33, married to his beautiful wife and they have 2 kids - a boy and a girl.  He's been active duty in the army since 2013.  He'd just taken up bodybuilding and placed second in his first competition.  No matter the sacrifices he had to make to better his life and be healthier he was willing to do them.  

    Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr was 25 and had just married his beautiful wife in April.  She said they were so happy together and that the months with him were the best of her life.  He knew in high school he wanted to be a pilot and studied diligently in school to be the best at what he was doing.  His wife McKenzie said he was "He was and is a strong, courageous soldier and loyal husband. Eight months of marriage with him was the best months of my life.  He taught me so much about love and respect. I’m blessed to have been loved by him so fiercely.  He wanted a challenge, he loved his country, and … he always said he was willing to die for his country,” He really went out of his way to help others.  

    As Americans we enjoy so many freedoms because of the sacrifices made by soldiers like these fine men and their families.  They sacrifice to keep evil at bay and spread freedom to those who don't enjoy what we have.  We owe them our honor and respect...and some time spent serving those around us.  As we serve in whatever ways we can, as we honor all those serving, as we stand for and appreciate the freedoms we have, we insure their lives were not given in vain.  

    This is why wearing our shirts is so important to us...it has become a sacred opportunity to wear our support.  Every time I put my shirt on I know it is a reminder that there are people serving and sacrificing.  It is a way I can show my support to everyone who sees my shirt.  It is a way I can say that I see them, I see their families, I see the things they are giving up...and I honor them.  It may seem simple (and it is), but it is powerful.  It is so much more than a shirt.

    Sources: 

    https://www.deseret.com/utah/2019/11/22/20977969/army-pilot-killed-in-afghanistan-will-be-buried-in-utah

    https://www.stripes.com/news/middle-east/army-pilots-killed-in-helicopter-crash-in-afghanistan-remembered-for-their-heroic-legacy-and-heart-1.608095

    Firefighters Save Boy Who is Shot at a Football Game!

    This idea of service before self...and sacrifice as a way of life is something ingrained in firefighters.  This really takes it to a new level though.  Maybe I'm crazy, but hearing about shootings in public places has had me wonder how I would respond if I were there.  My thoughts typically focus on staying safe and keeping my kids and family safe.  

    Last weekend at a high school football game in New Jersey, a gunman opened fire.  Tragically a 10 year old boy was caught in the crossfire and was shot in the neck.  Instead of ducking for cover or staying with his own family, Julio Sanchez Jr, a firefighter of 19 years (also a veteran!) ran toward the boy saving this boy's life.  Not surprisingly, when he got to the injured boy there were a few retired firefighters trying to help him.  Sanchez grabbed a stretcher, performed CPR, and then drove the ambulance to the nearest trauma center.

    Because of these firefighters (Ernest Alexander Jr is another firefighter who was involved), their quick actions, training, and ultimately their willingness to help others needing help instead of focusing on their own safety, this boy is recovering with his family.

    Thank you to all those who serve and protect, who train and perfect their technique, who run towards the danger instead of running away.  

     

    Source:

    https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2019/11/16/cbs3-exclusive-eyewitness-news-speaks-with-firefighter-who-raced-to-help-10-year-old-boy-struck-by-gunfire-at-high-school-football-game/

    Massachusetts Firefighter Killed Saving His Crew

    Massachusetts Firefighter Killed Saving His Crew

    A hero was buried today. He died last week after rescuing members of his crew in a fire early in the morning November 13th.  His crew had entered the house searching for a mom and her baby they thought was still in the house.  They became trapped in the fire and Lieutenant Menard "heroically and selflessly saved his crew, helping a probationary firefighter to the stairs and then returning to rescue another trapped firefighter, assisting him out the window" - Worcester Fire Chief Michael Lavoie said.  

    Tragically after helping the other firefighters escape, fire conditions overtook the 3rd floor and he was unable to escape :(.  The cold and wind made it extremely difficult for him to be rescued.  3 other firefighters were injured (the firefighter he helped out the window had 14 broken bones including all of his left ribs and 2nd and 3rd degree burns.  He is in the ICU recovering).  One of the neighbors said "The fire department, they worked so hard at this fire. It was ripping,” she said. “It was terrifying. There was a fireman on the porch over there and as he bent forward you could see the flames shooting up over the top of his back and every window had flames coming out of it. The firefighters, they don’t quit. They did not drop a hose at all and they struggled through that very fierce cold last night.  It was terrible. it was a very big fire.”  

    Governor Charlie Baker said it so well. "You can't say this enough, first responders wake up every morning and answer every call never knowing what surprise may be in store for them, and knowing full well that they might be putting their lives on the line for the sake of others, it's because of brave men and women like Lt. Menard and his team that we all rest easy at night. We must always be eternally grateful for their service and their sacrifice.  He epitomized the devotion, camaraderie and bravery that make up the fabric of the Worcester Fire Department"

    I can only imagine the courage it takes to go in and the thoughts that would go through your head when you realize you're may never be getting out of the fire.  These firefighters have such a willingness to sacrifice so much if necessary...and in doing so they sign their families up to sacrifice as well.  Because of Lieutenant Menard's sacrifice other families aren't mourning the loss of their firefighter...and for that they will be forever grateful to him and his family.  

    Lieutenant Menard's family was planning to leave on vacation that day...to Disney and instead they spent the week planning his funeral.  He and his wife were high school sweethearts and had 3 children.  Now they will have to continue without him...as well as his fellow firefighters.  

    He will be greatly missed and joins other brave Worcester firefighters who have given their lives.  In a few weeks it is the 20th anniversary of the cold storage fire where 6 brave firefighters gave their lives.  Its is also almost the anniversary of when Jon Davies died fighting a fire in 2011 and the 1 year anniversary of Christopher Roy...another Worcester firefighter who gave his life.  

    Each of these individuals leave behind families, friends, fellow firefighters who grieve them.  They had lives, dreams, plans...that they willingly sacrificed.  

    We will do what we can to honor them, to help their community, their families, they fellow firefighters.  We will send giveback shirts and gear to let them know we see them, we appreciate them, and we are here for them.  Showing our support may seem like a small thing, but it is something we can do and it does make a difference. 

     Sources:

    https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/Worcester-Bids-Final-Farewells-to-Jason-Menard-at-Funeral-565082772.html

    https://www.wcvb.com/article/at-least-three-firefighters-injured-battling-intense-worcester-fire/29781948

    https://www.nbcboston.com/multimedia/Funeral-Services-for-Worcester-Fire-Lt-Jason-Menard-565090612.html