As Father’s Day approaches, we think of our Dads and how much we appreciate all they have done for us. My Dad was a very special man. I never fully realized until I was an adult how much he had to sacrifice for me, especially as a single parent of a 10 year old child.
I was adopted as an infant and by the age of 14, both of my parents were gone. Being a Daddy’s Girl, my memories of him are the most vivid. He was big man in stature, but was very quiet and unassuming in personality. He never wanted to be the center of attention, but was always ready to jump in and help anyone in need. Everyone loved him. His occupation was a fireman, but not your average fireman…he worked on Air Force bases putting out fires caused by jet fuel. We moved a lot between NY, CO, and FL because of his job transfers. As his job was always in restricted areas, I never had the opportunity to visit him at work and to see him in action there. His last job was as a Crew Chief in the fire department at Kennedy Space Center in the days before manned launches. He would be excited at how far we have come.
My dad was a “Hero.” Not just to me, but to others as well. I can recall at least three instances when I saw his heroism in action:
- The first occurred when we lived in Colorado. He loved to fly fish and one day we were picnicking beside a stream. As he was enjoying fishing, I was playing near the water’s edge and fell in. The current was swift and soon pulled me into the center and I began drifting down river screaming for help. My dad dropped his pole and started running along the bank to reach me. Fortunately, there was a fallen tree hanging over the river and he climbed on it and pulled me out with his strong arm. I couldn’t swim and would have surely drowned if he had not acted so quickly.
- The next took place on a trip from NY to FL. We had pulled off the highway at a gas station and my dad began pumping gas. A car drove up and a woman got out, leaving her child in the car while she went inside. It was a hilly area and she had forgotten to put on the emergency brake. Soon the car began to roll downhill with the frightened child screaming inside. My dad ran to the car, grabbed the front fender and dug his feet into the pavement in an attempt to stop the car. It pulled him along to the bottom of the hill where there was a busy intersection. The car finally stopped just inches from entering it. The mother came and consoled her child and he quietly went back to pumping our gas. Then we went on our way. Later my mom looked at his shoes and the soles had been worn completely through from contact with the pavement.
- The last instance occurred in FL when we were walking out of the hospital after visiting my mom. A naked man came strolling by. As the hospital had a ward for mental patients, it was obvious he had escaped. My dad told me to sit on the steps and chased after the man, holding him down on the ground until the orderlies arrived to take him back to the ward.
My Dad passed on quickly at work due to a heart attack. I miss him more and more with each passing year and wished I had been able to tell him how much he meant to me. Tell your Dad now how much he’s appreciated. Don’t wait until it’s too late like I did.