Sunday, January 28, 2007

Death, Take a Holiday

Progress on the house in the last couple weeks has been limited to about 15 minutes of disassembling the old French doors from the dining room, plus the new gutters that LeafGuard installed. It's been a variety of things keeping me from the house, but the most recent was a sad one. I volunteer with Oakland Firefighters Random Acts of Kindness, doing a variety of things (tech support, photography, media creation, home repairs, valet parking, etc.)

Last week, an Oakland firefighter fought a house fire on Friday night, and went to the gym to "work the smoke out" when he went off-shift Saturday morning. He collapsed, and despite efforts of the gym staff and then the fire department, he died. He was only 47, which no matter how you slice it, was too young for such a great guy. At least 999 other people agree, since the church filled up with family, friends and firefighters from all over the state, and hundreds had to listen to the overflow speakers outside. Kevin Reed was a big volunteer with Random Acts, too. He was at Station 8, a few blocks from Children's Hospital, and was a regular visitor to the kids -- he was scheduled for another visit the following Monday.

So I photographed my first funeral on Friday, including fire engine procession, color guard, honor guard, etc. It's not a skill I want to get any practice at. I took almost the identical picture to the one the Oakland Tribune ran (not surprising since the Trib photographer was standing next to me at the time). Rather than repeat it, I'll show a picture that my friend Cindy from Random Acts took, which captures Kevin's spirit far better than any words I could write will:
That's Kevin with Father Jason, the Oakland Fire Department chaplain and Kevin's classmate back in high school, after a whipped cream fight during a Random Acts fundraiser at Fenton's Creamery.

You're with God now, Kevin. God, be with Kevin's family, especially his wife and daughter, his friends and co-workers. And when a boisterous guy who looks kind of like the munchkin on the right greets you at the pearly gates when it's your turn, you'll get to meet Kevin, too.


oakland heidi said...

I lived in Oakland once upon a time and spent lots of time with OFD. I had dinner a few times at station 8. I would love to see some of your photos of the funeral. Do you have them posted anywhere?

Gene said...

I posted some for you here.

oakland heidi said...

Thank you.