Monday, August 9, 2010

August 9

8/9/2005: I pushed the lawnmower into the garage, having just finished cutting the grass, and grabbed the bottle of water from the workbench and took a slug of the wonderfully cold water. It was a typical brutal and humid August day, the time was only about 10:00am but even that early it was already in the mid-80's and still climbing. I took another slug of water, intending to then grab the weed trimmer, when my cell phone rang. I looked at the caller ID- "Al Keiss."

Al was my Captain (and later Assistant Chief) at my first Career Firefighting gig, the Naval Air Warfare Center Fire Department, in Warminster Pa. By this time however, I had since transferred to the Aberdeen Proving Ground Fire Department (but not after serving a short stint at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard FD.) Al was also an Operations Officer at a part-time job that I had, one that often required people at the extreme last minute to staff certain functions. It was not unusual for Al to be calling me at this time of the day to see if I was available to come in. I figured that was the purpose of this call; Al and I were also friends, and I always answered the phone when he called in some kind of obnoxious manner. "WHAT?" I said loudly as I thumbed the "accept call" button. Al was quiet.....This was unusual...He said something very quietly that I could not hear......

"What?" I said again, in a civil manner.....Al's reply this time was ice cold, and it sent a chill up my spine..."We lost John Kulick."

"What?" I went from an amused, humorous mood (messing with Al) to complete and total 100% confusion in a matter of 2 seconds.

"John Kulick is dead."

"WHAT?" (not loudly, just more firmly....)

"John Kulick was killed in Iraq sometime last night, no one really knows any details, Vince Crusco called me, the guys at Willow Grove called him.....When I know more I'll call you, but I wanted you to know."

John Kulick was one of the best firefighters I had ever worked with, both as a Career and Volunteer Firefighter..........

(I am going to stop now. I can't go on.)