So after surveying our ingredients, I only needed baking soda. The kids and I went to the store for said item, came home and began mixing the ingredients. We were in the middle of the second batch when the noon news came on and I learned that 6 of the firefighters were from our own firestation across the road from us. My heart sank and I could only think of the one fireman there that I regularly talked to. Still, I held out hope that he was alive and well.
Around 12:30, Justin and I walked to the firestation carrying a huge batch of cookies and a thank you card. In the card, I wrote "Thank you for your bravery in looking out for our community. My thoughts and prayers are with you all as your mourn your 9 brothers and we as a community mourn the brave men we lost. They will be missed."
Like an obssessed person, I scoured the news on TV and online for any news on who the men were. It wasn't until the press conference at 2 that I learned the one man I was praying to be alive, had lost his life. Melvin Champaign. He and another fireman were always walking through our complex. I walked with them every other night last summer. He always had time to stop for a quick chat when he saw me or my kids. I didn't even know if he was married or had kids. All I knew was I would see him every evening walking by my apartment.
I think I've cried myself out for now. I'm going to miss seeing him with his ready grin just walking around and stopping to talk to not only us, but various tenants here.
When I handed the cookies and the cards to the captain, his eyes were as red as mine. And I felt so selfish. This captain worked with "Officer Champaign" as the kids here called him. I only knew him in passing. Yet my heart breaks for his firefighter brothers and sisters and for his family. Justin was so upset when he found out. He said, "But Officer Champaign was mine and Kobe's favorite!" Then he ran off to be with Kobe. They're both doing fine. But I still get upset at the loss of the lives of those men.
I wanted to be in denial that it was the same "Officer Champaign" until I saw his picture. Then it hit even harder. I pray for his family and for all the families affected by this.