Every day we come to work knowing that it could be our last day.
We kiss our families goodbye and we drive off to the fire house, knowing we may never kiss them again. We know it, but we do not think about it.
We respond to 911 calls throughout our shift. Some of them seem mundane, some more intense. Then there are those calls that when we walk away from them we look at each other and we know without saying, we are lucky to have made it out of that one alive.
For most of us, those calls are engrained in our heads for the rest of our careers. We will tell tales of “that fire” or that “run” later on down the road, and sometimes even laugh at it. “Man that was close. You shoulda seen the look on your face …”
Unfortunately, far too often, that is not always the end result. Unfortunately there is such a thing as a Line of Duty Death. Four words that no one likes to hear. When a firefighter dies in the line of duty, it is so sudden and so tragic that it will rock the core of every man and woman who wears a maltese cross over their heart. Because we are all one. A family of brothers and sister. And at this time we must come together and do whatever we can for our brother firefighter’s family that he left behind.
Wayne-Westland Fire Authority Firefighter Brian Woehlke ran his last alarm on May 8th, 2013. There will be no laughter when the men who were with him remember that fire. There will be no laughter when the rest of us speak of this tragic event. We will don our Class A uniforms and march in remembrance of a hero that gave his life for others. A hero that knew, but did not think of what could happen as he ran into a fire to do what he swore to do. We will respond to our next alarm with the memory of a fallen brother in our hearts and minds. We will listen to, and tell stories of our brother. We will cry, and we will laugh.
A hero never dies because they live on in the stories his loved ones share with others about them. Gone but Never Forgotten.
The Highland Park Firefighters would like to ask our friends to make a small donation to his family. A few dollars from each of you would go a very long way. Make a donation and receive a T-shirt with Woehlke’s name emblazoned on it.