14 February 2007
Valentine's Day has never quite been the same for me and a lot of the people in my little world since the morning of February 14, 2000. In that pre-September 11th era of innocence, I had never been touched personally by a line of duty death. It hadn't happened in my department...ever, and it hadn't happened to anyone in the bigger municipal department bordering mine since 1977. But that morning, what became known as "The McDonalds Fire," changed everything when Firefighter Kim Smith and Captain Lewis Mayo were killed in a fire that was deliberately set at a local McDonald's resteraunt to cover up a burglery.
I first met Kim on a mutual aid call where she and I were the only two women in a sea of men. She was small, like me, but strong enough to be part of a ladder company and she had four years more experience than I did. She had competed in the National Firefighter Combat Challenge, loved to run and had two dogs she adored.
I had found someone to emulate.
Seven years later, that's something I still try to do.
Miss you, Gal.